Finding God’s Will (January 31st)

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 NLT

Ever have trouble determining God’s will for your future? You’re not alone. The questions are endless. One follows another. Every new responsibility brings new decisions.

How in the world do we know what God wants?

To know God’s will, we must totally surrender to God’s will. Our tendency is to make God’s decision for him.

Don’t go to God with options and expect him to choose one of your preferences. Go to him with empty hands—no hidden agendas, no crossed fingers, nothing behind your back. Go to him with a willingness to do whatever he says. If you surrender your will, then he will “equip you with everything good for doing his will”
(Hebrews 13:21 NIV).

It’s a promise.

Lucado, Max (2015-12-20T22:58:59). God Is With You Every Day . Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

Find Your Lot (January 30th)

You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.
Psalm 139:16 NLT

Uniqueness is a big message in the Bible. And—this may surprise you—it is a huge message of the book of Joshua. In fact, one could argue that the majority of its chapters advance one command: know your territory and possess it.

Joshua’s first goal was to establish Israel in Canaan by taking the land, neutralizing the enemy armies, and eliminating the major seats of authority. Each tribe was given a distinct territory and/or assignment.

The inheritance was for everyone. All the Hebrews were welcomed to Canaan—the old, the young, the feeble, the forceful. The inheritance was universal.

But the assignments were individual. They are listed in detail in Joshua 13–21. If you can’t fall asleep tonight, read these chapters. The book moves from an action novel to a land survey. The pages make for dull reading unless, of course, you stand to inherit something.

But the big message was this: No one gets everything. But everyone gets something. Drive out the remaining enemies. Build your farms. Cultivate your fields.

Find your lot in life and indwell it.

Lucado, Max (2015-12-20T22:58:59). God Is With You Every Day . Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

A Prayer . . . for Boldness (January 29th)

We have this hope, so we are very bold.
2 Corinthians 3:12 NCV

O God, you created all that exists, and you sustain all through your infinite wisdom and boundless power. Yet you invite me to come to you in prayer, boldly and with the expectation that you will hear and answer me. Teach me, Lord, to take full advantage of this privilege, especially in regard to reaching others with your love. Give me a heart for those who have yet to experience the fullness of your grace, and prompt me to pray for them and for their welfare, both in this world and in eternity. Lord, bring me to the front lines of this battle. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

Lucado, Max (2015-12-20T22:58:59). God Is With You Every Day . Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

God’s Unrivaled Goodness (January 28th)

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
Psalm 34:8

The heart of God is unblemished. “There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle” (James 1:17 MSG). He has no hidden agenda or selfish motive. He loves with a good love and forgives with a good forgiveness.

God’s goodness is a major headline in the Bible. I think I know why. If God were only mighty, we would salute him. But since he is merciful and mighty, we can approach him. No wonder the psalmist invited, “Taste and see that the LORD is good” (Psalm 34:8). A glimpse of God’s goodness changes us.

God’s unrivaled goodness undergirds everything else we can say about prayer. If he is like us, only slightly stronger, then why pray? If he grows weary, then why pray? If he has limitations, questions, and hesitations, then you might as well pray to the Wizard of Oz.

However, if God is at once Father and Creator, holy—unlike us—and high above us, then we at any point are only a prayer away from help.

Lucado, Max (2015-12-20T22:58:59). God Is With You Every Day . Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

Unsheathe the Promise (January 27th)

The LORD your God is He who has fought for you.
Joshua 23:3

Not only does God desire that you live the Promised Land life, but he fights for you so you can. This was the main point of Joshua’s victory speech (Joshua 23–24).

Joshua has seen every significant moment of the last half century. The Jordan River opened, and the Jericho walls fell. The sun stood still, and the enemies scattered. And Joshua in his final words wants to make sure they have gotten the message: “The LORD your God is He who has fought for you” (v. 23:3).

Joshua summarized the victory by saying, “For the LORD has driven out from before you great and strong nations; . . . no one has been able to stand against you to this day. One man of you shall chase a thousand, for the LORD your God is He who fights for you” (vv. 23:9–10).

Don’t you love that image? One man of you shall chase a thousand. I envision a single Hebrew soldier with drawn sword racing after an entire battalion of enemies. Since God fights for him, they scatter like scared pigeons.

I picture the same for you. The enemies of your life—fears, dread, hatred, and hurt—come at you like a legion of hoodlums. Yet rather than run away, you turn and face them. You unsheathe the promise of God’s Word. You were not made to quake in fear. You are a living, breathing expression of God.

He fights for you.

Lucado, Max (2015-12-20T22:58:59). God Is With You Every Day . Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

Sufficient, Sustaining Grace (January 26th)

I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
2 Corinthians 12:7–9 NIV

A thorn in the flesh. Such vivid imagery. The sharp end of a thorn pierces the soft skin of life and lodges beneath the surface. Every step is a reminder of the thorn in the flesh.

The cancer in the body.
The child in the rehab center.
The red ink on the ledger.
The tears in the middle of the night.

“Take it away,” you’ve pleaded. Not once, twice, or even three times. You’ve outprayed Paul. He prayed a sprint; you’ve prayed a marathon. But what you hear is this: “My grace is sufficient for you.”

Grace takes on an added dimension here. Paul is referring to sustaining grace. Saving grace saves us from our sins. Sustaining grace meets us at our point of need and equips us with courage, wisdom, and strength. Sustaining grace promises not the absence of struggle but the presence of God.

And according to Paul, God has sufficient sustaining grace to meet every single challenge of our lives. Sufficient. We fear its antonym: insufficient. We’ve written checks only to see the words insufficient funds. Will we offer prayers only to discover insufficient strength?


Lucado, Max (2015-12-20T22:58:59). God Is With You Every Day . Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

A Plan for Grace (January 25th)

We can make our plans,
but the LORD determines our steps.
Proverbs 16:9 NLT

Before we knew God’s story, we made a mess of our own. Even afterward, we’re prone to demand our own way, cut our own path, and hurt people in the process. Can God make good out of our bad?

He did with Paul.

“As I journeyed and came near Damascus . . . suddenly a great light from heaven shone around me. And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me . . .” (Acts 22:6–7).

“I’m going to give you a taste of your own medicine.”
“Back to the dust with you, you Christian-killer.”
“Prepare to meet your Maker!”

Did Paul expect to hear words like these? Regardless, he didn’t. Even before he requested mercy, he was offered mercy. Jesus told him, “I have a job for you. . . . I’m sending you off to open the eyes of the outsiders so they can see. . . . I’m sending you off to present my offer of sins forgiven, and a place in the family” (Acts 26:16–18 MSG).

Jesus transformed Paul, the card-carrying legalist, into a champion for mercy. Who would have thought? Yet who would be better qualified? Paul could write epistles of grace by dipping his pen into the inkwell of his own heart. He learned about love when Jesus paid him a personal visit on Damascus Highway.

Lucado, Max (2015-12-20T22:58:59). God Is With You Every Day . Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

Your Best Weapon God (January 24th)

makes everything come out right;
he puts victims back on their feet.
Psalm 103:6 MSG

Satan has no recourse to your personal testimony. So your best weapon against his attacks is a good memory.

Don’t forget a single one of God’s blessings!
He forgives your sins—every one.
He heals your diseases—every one.
He redeems you from hell—saves your life!
He crowns you with love and mercy—a paradise crown.
He wraps you in goodness—beauty eternal.
He renews your youth—you’re always young in his presence.

Create a trophy room in your heart. Each time you experience a victory, place a memory on the shelf. Before you face a challenge, take a quick tour of God’s accomplishments. Look at all the paychecks he has provided, all the blessings he has given, all the prayers he has answered. Imitate the shepherd boy David. Before he fought Goliath, the giant, he remembered how God had helped him kill a lion and a bear (1 Samuel 17:34–36). He faced his future by revisiting the past.

Face your future by recalling God’s past victories.

Lucado, Max (2015-12-20T22:58:59). God Is With You Every Day . Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

Of Greater Worth than Gold (January 23rd)

“I will refine them like silver and test them like gold.
They will call on my name and I will answer them;
I will say, ‘They are my people,’
and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.’ ”
Zechariah 13:9 NIV

With a strong forearm, the apron-clad blacksmith puts his tongs into the fire, grasps the heated metal, and places it on the anvil. His keen eye examines the glowing piece. He sees what the tool is now and envisions what he wants it to be. With a clear picture in his mind, he begins to pound.

On the solid anvil, the smoldering iron is remolded. The smith knows the type of instrument he wants. He knows the size. He knows the shape. He knows the strength.

Whang! Whang! The hammer slams. The shop rings with noise, the air fills with smoke, and the softened metal responds.

But the response doesn’t come easily. It doesn’t come without discomfort. To melt down the old and recast it as new is a disrupting process. Yet the metal remains on the anvil, allowing the toolmaker to remove the scars, repair the cracks, refill the voids, and purge the impurities.

And with time, a change occurs: what was dull becomes sharpened, what was crooked becomes straight, what was weak becomes strong, and what was useless becomes valuable.

Lucado, Max (2015-12-20T22:58:59). God Is With You Every Day . Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

A Prayer for Strength (January 22nd)

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6–7

Dear Father, you are the Prince of Peace and the great I Am. You are my helper and my Redeemer.
I need your help today. I am weak and frail and tired. Give me the strength to get through just this day and the desire to work as if I am doing it all for your glory.
Help those who are carrying especially heavy burdens right now. They need your power and peace that goes beyond our understanding.
I am so grateful that I can come to you and present my requests at any time. Thank you for giving me peace and rest even in the hard times.
In the name of the Prince of Peace, I pray, amen. Pocket

Lucado, Max (2015-12-20T22:58:59). God Is With You Every Day . Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

Moved by Prayer(January 21st)

 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
1 John 5:14

Let’s pray, first. Traveling to help the hungry? Be sure to bathe your mission in prayer. Working to disentangle the knots of injustice? Pray. Weary of a world of racism and division? So is God. And he would love to talk to you about it.

Let’s pray, most. Did God call us to preach without ceasing? Or teach without ceasing? Or have committee meetings without ceasing? Or sing without ceasing? No, but he did call us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Did Jesus declare: My house shall be called a house of study? Fellowship? Music? A house of exposition? A house of activities? No, but he did say, “My house will be called a house of prayer” (Mark 11:17 NIV).

No other spiritual activity is guaranteed such results. “When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action” (Matthew 18:19 MSG). He is moved by the humble, prayerful heart.

He is moved by prayer.

Lucado, Max (2015-12-20T22:58:59). God Is With You Every Day . Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

The Final Word (January 20th)

“The Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins.”
Mark 2:10

If you are in Christ, your sin is gone. It was last seen on the back of your Sin Bearer as he headed out to Death Valley. When Jesus cried on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46 NIV), he entered the wilderness on your behalf. He carried your sin away.

He has the final word on your life.And his word is grace.

Jesus did his part. Now do yours.

Give God your guilt. Tell Jesus what you did. Hold nothing back. Be abundant in your confession, and . . . Be concrete in your confession. Go into as much detail as you can. Healing happens when the wound is exposed to the atmosphere of grace. Exactly what is it that you need forgiveness for? For being a bad person? That is too general. For losing your patience and calling your coworker a creep? There, you can confess that. Confession, you see, is not a punishment for sin; it is an isolation of sin so it can be exposed and extracted.

Be firm in this prayer. Satan traffics in guilt. So tell his guilt where to get off. Speak to it in the name of Jesus. “I left you at the foot of the cross, you evil spirit. Stay there!”

And, for heaven’s sake, stop tormenting yourself. Jesus is strong enough to carry your sin. Did he not say he would do so? Believe him! He has the final word.

Lucado, Max (2015-12-20T22:58:59). God Is With You Every Day . Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

A Spiritual Battle (January 19th)

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Ephesians 6:12

For a book about conquests, the book of Joshua sure skimps on military details. What weapons did Joshua’s army use? How many officers did his army have? The answer to these and other questions? We don’t know.

We don’t know because the emphasis is not on a physical battle but a spiritual one. The real conflict wasn’t with Canaanites or Amorites; it was with Satan and his demons.

Canaan was the choicest real estate on earth. It was marked by fertile fields and valleys. Most important, the land was God’s gift to Israel (Genesis 12:7).

God set this property apart for his people and his people apart to be a blessing for the world. God promised Abram, “I will make you a great nation” (12:2). The Hebrews were the couriers of God’s covenant to a galaxy of people. Israel was the parchment on which God’s redemption story would be written.

Satan’s counterstrategy was clear: contaminate the Promised Land and preempt the Promised Child. Destroy God’s people and destroy God’s work.

Joshua’s battle, then, was a spiritual one.
So is ours.

Lucado, Max (2015-12-20T22:58:59). God Is With You Every Day . Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

Voices of Failure (January 18th)

I waited patiently for the LORD to help me,
and he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.
He has given me a new song to sing,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Psalm 40:1–3 NLT

Have you heard voices of failure? When you lost your job, flunked the exam, dropped out of school. When your marriage went south. When your business went broke. When you failed. The voices began to howl.

And you joined them!

Failure finds us all. Failure is so universal we have to wonder why more self-help gurus don’t address it. Bookstores overflow with volumes on how to succeed. But you’ll look a long time before you find a section called “How to Succeed at Failing.”

Maybe no one knows what to say. But God does. His book is written for failures. It is full of folks who were foul-ups and flops. David was a moral failure, yet God used him. Elijah was an emotional train wreck after Mount Carmel, but God blessed him. Jonah was in the belly of a fish when he prayed his most honest prayer, and God heard it.

Perfect people? No. Perfect messes? You bet. Yet God used them. A surprising and welcome discovery of the Bible is this: God uses failures.

Lucado, Max (2015-12-20T22:58:59). God Is With You Every Day . Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

Everyone Can Help Someone (January 17th)

“I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.”
Matthew 25:35–36

Many years ago I heard a woman discuss the work of Matthew 25:31–46. The event wasn’t publicized. The audience was chatty and restless. Yet when she entered the room, all stirring stopped.

She wore her characteristic white Indian sari with a blue border that represented the Missionaries of Charity, the order she had founded in 1950. Her sixty-nine years had bent her already small frame. But there was nothing small about Mother Teresa’s presence.

“Give me your unborn children,” she offered. “Don’t abort them. If you cannot raise them, I will. They are precious to God.” Who would’ve ever pegged this slight Albanian woman as a change agent?

I wonder if God creates people like Mother Teresa so he can prove his point: “See, you can do something today that will outlive your life.”

There are several billion reasons to consider his challenge. Some of them live in your neighborhood; others live in jungles you can’t find and have names you can’t pronounce. Some of them play in cardboard slums or sell sex on a busy street.

None of us can help everyone. But all of us can help someone. And when we help them, we serve Jesus.

Who would want to miss a chance to do that?

Lucado, Max (2015-12-20T22:58:59). God Is With You Every Day . Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

What Will He Do with You? (January 17th)

“No man ever spoke like this Man!”
John 7:46

Jesus claimed to be able to forgive sins—a privilege only God can exercise (Matthew 9:4–7). He claimed to be greater than Jonah, Solomon, Jacob, and even Abraham (Matthew 12:38–42; John 4:12–14, 8:53–56). Jesus commanded people to pray in his name (John 14:13–14). He claimed his words would outlive heaven and earth (Mark 13:31) and that all authority in heaven and on earth had been given to him (Matthew 28:18–20).

Does a decent fellow say things like this? No, but a demented fool does. Maybe Jesus was a megalomaniac on par with Alexander the Great or Adolf Hitler. But, honestly, could a madman do what Jesus did?

Look at the devotion he inspired. People didn’t just respect Jesus. They liked him; they left their homes and businesses and followed him. Men and women alike tethered their hope to his life. Impulsive people like Peter. Visionaries like Philip. Passionate men like John, careful men like Thomas, methodical men like Matthew the tax collector. When the men had left Jesus in the grave, it was the women who came to honor him—women from all walks of life, homemaking to philanthropy.

Jesus transformed common dockworkers and net casters into the authors of history’s greatest book and founders of its greatest movement.

Lucado, Max (2015-12-20T22:58:59). God Is With You Every Day . Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

Who Are You? (January 15th)

Consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God.
Romans 6:11 NLT

Who are you?
I’m glad you asked.

You are:

• God’s child (John 1:12),
• Christ’s friend (John 15:15),
• a member of Christ’s body (1 Corinthians 12:27),
• a saint (Ephesians 1:1),
• redeemed and forgiven of all your sins (Colossians 1:14),
• complete in Christ, lacking in nothing (Colossians 2:10),
• free from condemnation (Romans 8:1–2),
• God’s coworker (2 Corinthians 6:1),
• seated with Christ in the heavenly realm (Ephesians 2:6),
• God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10),
• a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20),
• adopted into God’s family (Ephesians 1:5),
• born of God, and the evil one cannot touch you (1 John 5:18).

Get acquainted with your new self.

Lucado, Max (2015-12-20T22:58:59). God Is With You Every Day . Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

A New Song (January 14th)

Oh, sing to the LORD a new song!
Sing to the LORD, all the earth.
Sing to the LORD, bless His name; . . .
For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised. Psalm 96:1–4 God places a song in the hearts of his children. A song of hope and life. “He has put a new song in my mouth”
(Psalm 40:3).

Some saints sing this song loud and long every single day of their lives. In other cases the song falls silent. Life’s hurts and happenings mute the music within. Long seasons pass in which God’s song is not sung.

I want to be careful here. Truth is, we do not always know if someone has trusted God’s grace. A person may have feigned belief but not meant it. Judas is an example of one who seemed to have been saved but in truth was not. For three years he followed Christ. While the others were becoming apostles, he was becoming a tool of Satan. When Jesus said, “You are clean, though not every one of you” (John 13:10 NIV), he was referring to Judas, who possessed a fake faith.

Whether or not someone’s faith is real isn’t ours to know. But we know this: where there is genuine conversion, there is eternal salvation. Our task is to trust God’s ability to call his children home. We join God as he walks among his wayward and wounded children, singing.

Eventually his own will hear his voice, and something within them will awaken. And when it does, they will begin to sing again.

Lucado, Max (2015-12-20T22:58:59). God Is With You Every Day . Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

The Discovery That Changes (January 13rd)

Everything “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

You are in the hands of a living, loving God. Random collection of disconnected short stories? Far from it. Your life is a crafted narrative written by a good God, who is working toward your supreme good.

God is not slipshod or haphazard. He planned creation according to a calendar. He determined the details of salvation “before the foundation of the world” (1 Peter 1:20). The death of Jesus was not an afterthought, nor was it Plan B or an emergency operation. Jesus died “when the set time had fully come” (Galatians 4:4 NIV), according to God’s “deliberate plan and foreknowledge” (Acts 2:23 NIV).

God isn’t making up a plan as he goes along. Nor did he wind up the clock and walk away. “The Most High God rules the kingdom of mankind and sets over it whom he will” (Daniel 5:21 ESV). He “executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another” (Psalm 75:7 ESV). “The LORD will not turn back until he has executed and accomplished the intentions of his mind” (Jeremiah 30:24 ESV). Look at those verbs: God rules, sets, executes, accomplished. These terms confirm the existence of heavenly blueprints and plans. Those plans include you. “In him we were also chosen, . . . according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will” (Ephesians 1:11 NIV).

This discovery changes everything!

Lucado, Max (2015-12-20T22:58:59). God Is With You Every Day . Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

You are Christ’s (January 12th)

and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.

You are His by donation, for the Father gave you to the Son; His by His purchase of blood, for He paid the price for your redemption; His by dedication, for you have consecrated yourself to Him; His by relation, for you are named by His name and made one of His brethren and joint-heirs. Labor practically to show the world that you are the servant, the friend, the bride of Jesus. When tempted to sin, reply, “I cannot do this great wickedness, for I am Christ’s.” Immortal principles forbid the friend of Christ to sin. When wealth is before you to be won by sin, say that you are Christ’s, and touch it not. Are you exposed to difficulties and dangers? Stand fast in the evil day, remembering that you are Christ’s. Are you placed where others are sitting down idly, doing nothing? Rise to the work with all your powers; and when the sweat stands upon your brow, and you are tempted to loiter, cry, “No, I cannot stop, for I am Christ’s. If I were not purchased by blood, I might be like Issachar, crouching between two burdens; but I am Christ’s and cannot loiter.” When the siren song of pleasure would tempt you from the path of right, reply, “Your music cannot charm me; I am Christ’s.” When the cause of God invites you, give your goods and yourself away, for you are Christ’s. Never contradict your profession. Be ever one of those whose manners are Christian, whose speech is like Jesus, whose conduct and conversation are so reminiscent of heaven that all who see you may know that you are the Savior’s, recognizing in you His features of love and His countenance of holiness. “I am a Roman!” was of old a reason for integrity; far more, then, let your argument for holiness be, “I am Christ’s!”

Spurgeon, Charles Haddon (2106-02-07T00:28:15). Morning and Evening (Kindle Locations 816-832). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

Wait for the Nudge (January 11th)

Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.
Galatians 5:25 NLT

Is there anything in your life that needs to be removed? Any impediment to the impression of God’s Spirit? We can grieve the Spirit with our angry words (Ephesians 4:29–30; Isaiah 63:10) and resist the Spirit in our disobedience (Acts 7:51). We can even quench the Spirit by having no regard for God’s teachings.

Here is something that helps me stay in step with the Spirit. We know that the “fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22–23 NASB). God’s Spirit
creates and distributes these characteristics. They are indicators on my spiritual dashboard. So whenever I sense them, I know I am walking in the Spirit. Whenever I lack them, I know I am out of step with the Spirit.

To walk in the Spirit, respond to the promptings God gives you.

Don’t sense any nudging? Just be patient and wait. Abraham waited for the promised son. Moses waited forty years in the wilderness. Jesus waited thirty years before he began his ministry. God instills seasons of silence in his plan. Winter is needed for the soil to bear fruit. Time is needed for the development of a crop. And disciples wait for the move of God. Wait for him to move, nudge, and direct you.

Lucado, Max (2015-12-20T22:58:59). God Is With You Every Day . Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

Live a Stirring Life (January 10th)

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. Philippians 2:14–16 NIV

Each of us should lead a life stirring enough to start a movement. We should yearn to change the world. We should love unquenchably, dream unfalteringly, and work unceasingly.

We should close our ears to the manifold voices of compromise and perch ourselves on the branch of truth. We should champion the
value of people, proclaim the forgiveness of God, and claim the promise of heaven.

And we should lead a life stirring enough to cause a movement. A movement comes of age when one life harvests the seeds planted by countless lives in previous generations. A movement occurs when one person, no greater or lesser than those who have gone before, lives a forceful life in the fullness of time.

Let’s live lives stirring and forceful enough to cause a movement. A true mark of the visionary is his willingness to lay down his life for those whom he’ll never see.

Will the movement come in our generation? I hope so. But even if it doesn’t, even if we never see it, it will occur. And we’ll be part of it.

Lucado, Max (2015-12-20T22:58:59). God Is With You Every Day . Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

Like You (January 9th)

There is no one like you. There are no words to adequately capture the wonder of your redeeming power. There is no one like you. No one who knows what you know. No one who is able to do what you do.

You reign over all that is. You do with your creation whatever you want to do. No one can question you. No one has the power to stop your hand. You turn hardship into rescue.

You turn suffering into redemption. Out of trials you bring transformation. Out of weakness you grow strength. Out of death you birth life.

Out of darkness you bring light. You turn foolishness into wisdom. You cause idolaters to bow in worship. Every day you create something out of
nothing. Every day you make alive what was once dead.

Every day you redeem what seems beyond redemption. There is no one like you. There are no words to adequately capture the wonder of your redeeming power. There is no one like you. No one who knows what you

know. No one who is able to do what you do.

There is none holy like the LORD ; there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God.
(1 Sam. 2:2)

Tripp, Paul David (2106-02-07T00:28:15). My Heart Cries Out (Kindle Locations 505-507). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

Unfailing Love (January 8th)

I wish I would live with you in view—eyes to your glory, ears for your wisdom, heart for your grace. But I live with me in view—eyes to my kingdom, ears for my opinion, heart captured by my will. I know that I was made for you. I know that hope, meaning, purpose, identity, and my agenda for every day is to be found in you. But I want my own kingdom. I love my own glory. I define my own meaning. I delight in my control. There’s a war that never ends; the battleground is my heart. It’s a moral skirmish between what you have ordained and what I want. So I don’t find pleasure in your glory; I don’t delight in your law. But my heart doesn’t rest. I know there’s a better way. I know that you are God, and I am not. My sin is more than bad behavior, bad choices, or wrong words.

My sin is a violation of the relationship that I was meant to have with you. My sin is an act where I replace you with something I love more. Every wrong thing I do reflects a lack of love for you, and reflects a love of self. Help me to see, to acknowledge, to weep, And say,

“Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.”

And then, help me to rest in your mercy, in your great compassion, and in your unfailing love even as the war goes on.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
(Matt. 22:37)

Contemplate how “sin is an act where I replace you.” How does this definition expand your understanding of sin?

How have you recently been living with yourself “in view” instead of living with God “in view”? Spend some time in prayer, confessing to God and resting in his unfailing love.

For further study and encouragement, read Psalm 51.

Tripp, Paul David (2106-02-07T00:28:15). My Heart Cries Out (Kindle Locations 479-481). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

Everyone Preaches (January 7th)

Every one of us is a preacher. We are always preaching some kind of gospel to ourselves. Every one of us is a theologian. We are always repeating some kind of belief system to ourselves. Every one of us is a philosopher.

We are always discussing meaning and purpose with ourselves. Every one of us is an archaeologist. We are always digging through the mound of experiences that is our life, making sense of where we have been, what we have done, what you have done, and who we’ve been with.

We are always doing this
because we are all image bearers. We are created to think, interpret, feel, know, desire, understand, and worship. In our seeking to know we are searching for you. Every one of us is a worshiper because every one of us is made for you. Every one of us is searching for what can only be found in you. So, every one of us needs your grace. For there is no life, there is no hope, there is no knowing, that does not begin with knowing you.

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
(Matt. 6:33)

What are you searching for?

Have you ever thought of yourself as a preacher, theologian, philosopher, or archaeologist? How might these labels point you to your most important role as a worshiper of God?

For further study and encouragement, read Matthew 7:7–11.

Tripp, Paul David (2106-02-07T00:28:15). My Heart Cries Out (Kindle Locations 445-448). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

Unimpeachable Authority (January 6th)

He sustains everything by the mighty power of his command.
Hebrews 1:3 NLT

Jesus has unimpeachable authority. The Roman government tried to intimidate him. False religion tried to silence him. The Devil tried to kill him. All failed. Even “death was no match for him” (Acts 2:24 MSG).

He was not kidding when he declared, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matthew 28:18 NIV). Jesus is the command center of the galaxies. He occupies the Oval Office. He called a coin out of the
 mouth of a fish. He stopped the waves with a word. He spoke, and a tree withered. He spoke again, and a basket became a banquet. Economy. Meteorology. Botany. Food supply. “All things have been handed over to me by my Father” (Matthew 11:27 NRSV).

That includes Satan. The Devil was soundly defeated by Christ on the cross. Jesus outranks him in every situation. He must obey Jesus, and he knows it. Prayers offered in the name of Jesus have “divine power to demolish strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:4 NIV). Demolish! Not damage or hamper but demolish.

Satan setting up a stronghold in your life? Lift up a prayer and unleash the demolition power of Jesus.

Lucado, Max (2015-12-20T22:58:59). God Is With You Every Day . Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

Your Assignment (January 5th)

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
1 Corinthians 12:4–6 NIV

“Stir up the gift of God which is in you” (2 Timothy 1:6, emphasis mine).

You be you. Don’t be your parents or grandparents. You can admire them, appreciate them, and learn from them. But you cannot be them. You aren’t them. “Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life” (Galatians 6:4–5 MSG).

Jesus was insistent on this. After the resurrection he appeared to some of his followers. He gave Peter a specific pastoral assignment that included great sacrifice. The apostle responded by pointing at John and saying, “ ‘Lord, what about him?’ Jesus answered, ‘If I want him to live until I come back, that is not your business. You follow me’ ” (John 21:21–22 NCV).

In other words, don’t occupy yourself with another person’s assignment; stay focused on your own.

Lucado, Max (2015-12-20T22:58:59). God Is With You Every Day . Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

But Never (January 4th)

You humble me, but never humiliate me. You confront me, but never mock me. You warn me, but never abandon me. You call me, but never leave me alone. You discipline me, but never beat me up. You command me, but never fail to enable me. You see into my heart, but never reject me for what you see. You teach me your mysteries, but never make fun of how much I don’t know. You stay near to me, but you never tire of me. You place your love on me, but never withdraw it when I fail. So I love you, but I have come to understand that my hope and security, my present and my future, my acceptance and identity, my ability and potential, are not in my love for you, but in your shocking, unfailing, faithful, wise, and powerful love for me.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,“For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Rom.  8:35–37)

Recall as many times as you can where God promises to “never” do something in Scripture.

Do you fully base all of your life in God’s love for you? For further study and encouragement, read Ephesians  2.

Tripp, Paul David (2106-02-07T00:28:15). My Heart Cries Out (Kindle Locations 393-399). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

But I Can’t (January 3rd)

I wish I could commend my righteousness to you, but I can’t. I wish I could brag of my strength to you, but I can’t. 

I wish I could point you to my track record, but I can’t. I wish I could tell you that I have no regrets, but I can’t.

You know me better than I know myself. I never escape your eye. You search the deepest regions of my heart. You know my thoughts before they are conscious to me. You know my words before
I hear myself speak them. You examine my desires before they move me to action.

So, without pretense or inadequate excuse, stripped of pride and self-defense, I bow before you, devoid of demand or argument, and I make one plea. It is for your mercy. I have come to accept what you know of me, and I cry for one thing—grace.

For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.”
(Isa. 57:15)

Pray and search through your heart—are there sins you excuse or defend, is there pride or pretense, or do you demand something from God because of your self-righteousness?

Humbly offer your discoveries to God. Review your knowledge of various biblical heroes, particularly considering the moments when God revealed sin in their hearts.

How did they react?

(To help get started, see Job 38–42:6 or 2 Samuel  12.)

Tripp, Paul David (2106-02-07T00:28:15). My Heart Cries Out (Kindle Locations 366-373). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

The Savior is Mine (January 2nd)


Jesus Christ is Himself the sum and substance of the covenant, and as one of its gifts He is the property of every believer. Believer, can you estimate what you have received in Christ? “In him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.” 1 Consider the word “God” and its infinity, and then meditate upon “perfect man” and all His beauty; for all that Christ, as God and man, ever had, or can have, is yours—out of pure free favor, given to you to be your entailed property forever. Our blessed Jesus, as God, is omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent. Will it not console you to know that all these great and glorious attributes are altogether yours? Has He power? That power is yours to support and strengthen you, to overcome your enemies, and to preserve you even to the end. Has He love? Well, there is not a drop of love in His heart that is not yours; you may dive into the immense ocean of His love, and you may say of it all, “It is mine.” Has He justice? It may seem a stern attribute, but even that is yours, for He will by His justice see to it that all that is promised to you in the covenant of grace shall be most certainly secured to you. And all that He has as perfect man is yours. As a perfect man the Father’s delight was upon Him. He stood accepted by the Most High. O believer, God’s acceptance of Christ is your acceptance; for the love that the Father set on a perfect Christ, He sets on you now. For all that Christ did is yours. That perfect righteousness which Jesus worked out, when through His stainless life He kept the law and made it honorable, is yours and is imputed to you. Christ is in the covenant.

My God, I am Thine—what a comfort divine! What a blessing to know that the Savior is mine! In the heavenly Lamb thrice happy I am, And my heart it doth dance at the sound of His name.

Spurgeon, Charles Haddon (2106-02-07T00:28:15). Morning and Evening (Kindle Locations 484-491). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

Use Your "You-ness" (January 1st 2021)

Do not neglect the gift that is in you.
1 Timothy 4:14

No one else has your “you-ness.” No one else in all history has your unique history. No one else in God’s great design has your divine design. No one else shares your blend of personality, ability, and ancestry. When God made you, the angels stood in awe and declared, “We’ve never seen one like that before.” And they never will again.

You are heaven’s first and final attempt at you. You are matchless, unprecedented, and unequaled.

Consequently, you can do something no one else can do in a fashion no one else can. Call it what you wish. A talent. A skill set. A gift. An anointing. A divine spark. An unction. A call. The terms are different, but the truth is the same: “The Spirit has given each of us a special way of serving others” (1 Corinthians 12:7 CEV).

Each of us—not some of us, a few of us, or the elite among us.
Many people stop short of their destiny. They settle for someone else’s story. They fit in, settle in, and blend in. But they never find their call. Don’t make the same mistake.

Your existence is not accidental. Your skills are not incidental. God “shaped each person in turn” (Psalm 33:15 MSG). Find your “you-ness” and use it for the kingdom.

Lucado, Max (2015-12-20T22:58:59). God Is With You Every Day . Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.