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Following God’s Schedule

Because God knows all things, we can trust that His timing and His plans are best.

Romans 11:33-36

People enjoy feeling in control of their own schedule, and it can be frustrating when things don’t go according to plan. Yet whoever truly desires to walk in obedience to God must cooperate with His time frame.

Consider how you pray about situations in your life. Without realizing it, you may be demanding that the Lord follow the schedule you’ve constructed based on your very limited human wisdom. Yet if we believe God is who He says He is, how can surrendering to His way not be to our benefit?

Unlike us, the Lord has complete knowledge about our world and the details of every individual life—past, present, and future. He understands every motive, whereas we can’t accurately judge even our own intentions. God also acts out of love for His people, and He’s sufficient to meet every need at just the right time.  

Submitting to God’s timetable requires faith and courage. Believe in the goodness of His heart and His plans, and determine to wait until He moves you forward. Then, as you follow His schedule, you will experience the joy of seeing a display of His great glory.


The Cosmic Dilemma

So that we could be reconciled to God the Father, He chose to sacrifice His Son.

John 3:14-21

Most people go through life unaware of the great cosmic dilemma—namely, how can a holy God be reconciled with sinful humanity? Nor do they give much thought to the solution that God Himself provided at Calvary: The cross was the place where both His love and His justice were on full display.  

When Adam and Eve disobeyed the Lord, they exposed the entire human race to sin. Humanity’s condition stood in opposition to the perfectly righteous God who created them.

The Lord could have abandoned mankind to condemnation. But in love, He wanted to forgive sinful people and reconcile them to Himself—while remaining absolutely just. His solution was to provide a perfect sacrifice to atone for their sins. That meant a flawless substitute was needed to take the punishment sinners deserved. So God sent His Son into the world to bear mankind’s sin and appease His own justice.

The cross of Jesus represents the only answer to this cosmic problem. God was satisfied by Christ’s sacrifice so that in eternal love He could welcome redeemed mankind into His holy presence. Have you trusted Jesus as Savior and acknowledged the sacrifice He made on your behalf?

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How can you know God?

It all starts with accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Jesus Christ provides a relationship with the Father and eternal life through His death on the cross and resurrection, see Romans. 5:10.

Romans. 10:9 promises, "If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." If you have not yet begun your personal relationship with God, understand that the One who created you loves you no matter who you are or what you’ve done. He wants you to experience the profound depth of His care.

Therefore, tell God that you are willing to trust Him for salvation. You can tell Him in your own words or use this simple prayer:

Lord Jesus, I ask You to forgive my sins and save me from eternal separation from God. By faith, I accept Your work and death on the cross as sufficient payment for my sins. Thank You for providing the way for me to know You and to have a relationship with my heavenly Father. Through faith in You, I have eternal life. Thank You also for hearing my prayers and loving me unconditionally. Please give me the strength, wisdom, and determination to walk in the center of Your will. In Jesus’ name, amen.

If you have just prayed this prayer, congratulations!

You have received Christ as your Savior and have made the best decision you will ever make—one that will change your life forever!


David’s Path to Servanthood

All that we encounter and endure serves a purpose in God's greater plan.

Psalm 89:19-29

The Lord chose David to be His servant and actively prepared him for that calling. By following the various stages of his life—from the things he experienced as a simple shepherd boy to his achievements as a heroic ruler—we can trace how the Lord prepared David to be used mightily.

Shepherd: At the time when David was actually anointed king, he hadn’t yet been in authority over anything besides sheep (1 Sam. 16:1-13). His humble position was the starting place for training to become God’s servant as king of Israel.  

Psalmist: David suffered many afflictions on his way to the throne, and his writings reveal how those troubles drew him to God. His psalms provide intimate glimpses of the God he knew and trusted deeply.

Commander: King Saul put David in charge of his army but later turned against the young man. While hiding from Saul, he led a band of mighty men (1 Chron. 12). Long before David became king, God used these soldiers to defeat foreign enemies and protect the people of Judah.

The Lord is working in your life as well, shaping you into His servant. Your hardships and setbacks have a place in His plan, and He’s using them to train you for what lies ahead.


Thoughtful Living

Looking for evidence of God every day reveals how He holds the entire universe together.

Psalm 25:8-15

Are you living thoughtfully or automatically? It’s easy to get up each morning, do our work, enjoy some relaxation or entertainment, and fall into bed each night without giving any thought to God’s involvement in our lives. But consider the benefits of keeping our spiritual eyes and ears open throughout the day—to see how God has blessed, guided, protected, and warned us.

Being aware of the Lord’s presence reminds us He is always in control and working to accomplish His good purposes. When we look for God’s footprints in our days, we discover the scope of His involvement in our life. Maybe He strengthened you for a task or opened a door of opportunity. Perhaps He guided your decisions or helped you respond in a compassionate way to a difficult person. Furthermore, if our ears are attuned to the Lord’s warnings and instructions, we’re less likely to repeat our mistakes.

Each night before you go to sleep, take some time to reflect on the day’s activities. Know that the Lord is constantly with you, guarding you and offering guidance. He wants you to understand life from His perspective as you rely on His wisdom and power to face any challenge.


The Benefits of Choosing Wisdom

The more we seek divine wisdom, the more we develop godly discernment.

Proverbs 2

The world often evaluates decisions in terms of pros and cons, benefits and drawbacks. What happens if we apply that same thinking to spiritual matters: What are the benefits of following God’s wisdom? Or, in other words, Why should we seek to obey the instructions given in Scripture?

First of all, in seeking God’s wisdom, we acquire a deeper understanding and knowledge of Him (Prov. 2:4-6). Our perception of life changes when we know the Lord intimately. He gives us the ability to see ourselves, others, and situations from His perspective. And as biblical principles permeate our mind, they shape our response to life’s challenges.

Second, God promises to guide and guard us when we walk wisely (Prov. 2:7-9). Nothing outside His will can penetrate the shield of protection around those who seek to obey Him. When we let His wisdom enter our heart, discretion prevents us from engaging in foolish or sinful relationships that would draw us away from Him (Prov. 2:11-20).

Godly understanding doesn’t become ours simply because we want it. Such benefits must be sought out. If you receive the words of Scripture and let them fill your heart and mind, the Lord will reveal Himself to you and give you His discernment.


A Problem Man Cannot Solve

We more readily accept God's gift of eternal life when we realize we couldn't save ourselves in the first place.

Jeremiah 17:5-8

Have you known someone who refused to accept any help whatsoever? Perhaps you were told, “I don’t need your charity” or  “I can do this myself!” On some level, we respect these people’s commitment to make their own way in life. However, this perspective may in fact be a symptom of spiritual problems that could be holding them back.

The Great Divorce is an allegorical look at eternity. In it, author C. S. Lewis describes a character who wants nothing more than “his rights.” That is, he wants only what he deserves—no more, no less. On the surface, this appears to be an act of humility. However, his attitude is one of false humility and is actually motivated by pride. In a similar way, if we’re determined to solve problems on our own, then we will fail miserably, especially when it comes to the issue of sin.

Credit goes to In Touch Ministries

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Made New

Our souls have been made new in Jesus Christ, and when He returns, our bodies will be made new, too.

2 Corinthians 5:14-21

Who doesn’t like something new, especially if the old is ineffective or flawed? Think about a car or appliance that’s beyond repair—and how we yearn for a new one. But even with the impressive technology of today’s latest models, such replacements can’t compare to our greatest need: a new life.

We’re all born with a sin nature that has alienated us from God, blinded our minds to spiritual understanding, enslaved us to sin, and condemned us to eternal punishment. But our heavenly Father stepped into our world through His Son to rescue us, and He offers us an entirely new nature. That is what Jesus meant when He talked about our need to be born again (John 3:1-7).

When we trust in Jesus as our Savior, the Holy Spirit regenerates our spirit and we become new creatures in Christ. The person we were before salvation is gone forever; the new has come and will never leave.

The believer’s spirit has been made new, even though the physical body remains unchanged. But when Jesus returns, our bodies will also be made new, freed from sin and all debilitating consequences. Let’s rejoice in this glorious future that awaits us!


God’s Purpose in Our Hardships

We may not always perceive God's presence during hardship, but He promised He'll always be with us.

Genesis 37

We all go through difficult seasons. When we’re hurting but see no relief for the future, what can we be sure of?

God is with us in our troubles. He gives us what we need—whether it’s His love and strength, a sense of security, or the knowledge that we are not alone. Jesus knows what it’s like to suffer, be rejected, and lose a loved one. He comprehends the temptations and obstacles we face. What’s more, He carries our burdens (Ps. 68:19) and offers peace for our hurting heart. The God who walks with us is not limited by anything (Matt. 19:26), so there’s no reason be afraid.

God has a purpose for allowing hard times. In the book of Genesis, Joseph could not see God’s intentions when his brothers were plotting against him—and neither will we, most of the time. But Joseph knew the Lord’s character and trusted Him through the many trials that came his way. And Joseph’s faith was rewarded when he ultimately rescued his family (Gen. 45:1-8).

We are called to live a life of faith. That means we are to believe God’s promises even if our circumstances confound us. When troubles surround you, remember what is true: God will never desert you nor abandon you (Heb. 13:5), and His good purposes will always be accomplished (Isa. 14:27).


Walking With God in Dark Times

Dark, challenging times are never wasted when you follow the Lord.

Genesis 39

Yesterday, we discussed Joseph’s faith. Today we’ll look at some principles that guided him during challenging moments in his life.

Dark times may continue until God’s purpose is accomplished. The Lord’s plan was to prepare Joseph to rescue his family, as well as the nation of Egypt, from famine. But first, God placed Joseph in the role of a servant, where he earned credibility with Egyptian leaders. Then, it was in prison that the Lord “extended kindness” (Gen. 39:21), positioning him to interpret Pharaoh’s dream. Through these difficult situations, Joseph was chosen by Pharaoh to lead Egypt and save the nation from famine as God planned.

We learn in both the dark and the light. Besides discovering God’s faithfulness, Joseph learned to handle high and low positions, to say no to temptation, and to discern God’s presence.

What we learn in the darkness, we’re to share in the light. Joseph did not let imprisonment discourage him from helping others (Gen. 40:1-23). In fact, when interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams, he openly shared his faith and God-given knowledge (Gen. 41:15-16).

No one goes looking for hard times, but they seem to find some of us regularly. Instead of fearing them, we can trust God and embrace His plan, knowing He uses trials for His glory and our gain.


Pursuing the Lord

Seeking God isn't about following rules; it's about enjoying His presence.

Psalm 119:1-8

We all have ambitions and desires, but as believers, we should weigh them against God’s Word. As important as our earthly pursuits, responsibilities, and relationships may be, they cannot compare to the value of a life spent seeking our heavenly Father.

What does it mean to seek God? The phrase describes a wholehearted effort to know the Father and follow Him more closely. Those who pursue this kind of fellowship with God are determined to spend time with Him. They also want to forsake anything that could hinder growth in their relationship with the Lord. God’s committed followers claim His promises and trust Him to fulfill His Word. Their experiences with the Lord bring amazing satisfaction yet cause them to hunger for more of Him.

The Christian life is meant to be an ongoing pursuit of God. To walk through the door of salvation and stand still, without drawing any closer to Him, is to miss the treasures that are available in Christ. Those who seek the Lord soon discover that knowing Him is the greatest reward of all.


How to Seek God

Our longing for the Lord is cultivated through intentional time and effort.

Psalm 105:1-8

Yesterday we learned what it means to seek God, but many of us don’t know where to begin.  

Start with the Scriptures and prayer. Set aside time each day for meditating on God’s Word: Listen for His voice, slowly digest what you read, talk to the Lord, ask Him questions, and apply what you learn. Don’t just read the Bible—study it, perhaps starting with a verse or short passage. Some of you may say, “I’ve never been into that.” My advice: Get into it! The deep things of God don’t just drop into our brains; they are placed there through diligent study.

Hunger for the Lord is an acquired taste. The more we pursue Him, the greater our craving will be. However, if we ignore God, what little hunger we have will diminish even further.

Do you find this last statement describes your experience? Then ask the Lord to whet your appetite for Him, and follow through by becoming a seeker. This requires time and effort, two things we want to invest wisely.

To neglect the Lord would mean cheating yourself of the benefits He promises to those who diligently seek Him. No one wants to go after that which is fleeting. Choose instead to pursue the Eternal One—the source of all contentment, joy, and hope.


Becoming a Burden Bearer

God works through us when we bear one another's burdens.

Romans 15:1-7

Every week churches are filled with people experiencing a wide range of problems, and as believers, we’re to bear one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2). This isn’t just the job of the pastor—he can’t possibly know about every need in the congregation. That’s why we’re all called to help each other practically and spiritually. But doing this may require some changes on our part.

Awareness. If we’re not sensitive to what people are facing, how can we pray for them or offer some kind of support? Ask the Spirit to help you tune in to the struggles of others.

Acceptance. We’re to accept fellow believers as Christ has accepted us. That means being willing to share the burdens of others, no matter who they are.

Availability. Helping people may not be convenient, but a faith community thrives when we make time to be there for those around us.

The Lord is the ultimately the one who comforts the hurting and helps the weak, but He often does this through His people. Scripture tells us the whole law is fulfilled in one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Gal. 5:14). Do you limit your support to family and friends, or do you show love to all your neighbors?


Impossible Love Made Possible

Only the Holy Spirit can enable us to fulfill God's two greatest commandments.

Galatians 5:13-23

Jesus said the two greatest commandments are these: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:37-39). What an overwhelming assignment!

In our own strength, we will find success out of reach, but the Lord has provided a way for Christians to accomplish the impossible. The indwelling Holy Spirit works to produce His fruit in us (Gal. 5:22-23). The first quality listed is love, and the remaining eight are actually descriptions of how it is conveyed.  

Love isn’t produced by trying harder to muster good will toward someone who is irritating or hard to get along with. Instead, think of the process more like sap running through a branch on a grapevine. In a similar way, the Spirit flows through us, producing God’s love so we can express it to Him and to others.

Whenever we demonstrate kindness, patience, or gentleness, it’s God’s doing, not ours. Even the adoration we offer Him isn’t something we produce in our own heart apart from His assistance. Though the command to love is enormous, God’s grace makes it possible.


An Awesome Privilege

In Jesus, we have access to the Father's presence and confidence that He hears our prayers.

Hebrews 7:11-28

Prayer is a truly remarkable privilege, and we must be careful to treat it as such. Have you ever paused to consider why a holy God would condescend to even listen to our petitions, let alone answer them? The Lord is so perfect that the smallest hint of sin is incompatible with His presence. Human beings, on the other hand, are inherently sinful. Yet God wants to commune with us, so He made a way for that to be possible.

Before Jesus’ death and resurrection, priests repeatedly offered sacrifices to cover the people’s transgressions. Animal blood, however, never permanently did away with sin. So God sent His Son to be the perfect “once for all time” atoning sacrifice for everyone who trusts in the Savior (Heb. 7:27). Because Jesus Christ paid our entire sin debt with His precious blood, we can now enter into God’s holy presence.

Let’s not underestimate the significance of being able to speak with the Lord. As those who have been forgiven of all sin, we are now welcome to draw close to the Father in prayer because His Son is our permanent high priest, eternally covering us in a veil of His righteousness.


Daily Devotion

The Power in Prayer

The true beauty of prayer is not a particular outcome but intimacy with the Father.

Matthew 7:7-11

Have you become disillusioned with prayer? Perhaps you’ve been persistently asking, seeking, and knocking, but God hasn’t answered your request. If that’s the situation, you may be wondering why so many Christians speak about the power of prayer when it seems ineffectual in your life.

Verses 9-11 of today’s passage help us understand the bigger picture. Jesus draws a comparison between earthly fathers and the heavenly Father. He notes that a human father, who is flawed and limited, can give good things to his children. So it stands to reason that the heavenly Father, who is all-powerful and all-knowing, will give what’s beneficial to His children.

Sometimes, however, we are like spiritual toddlers. In our limited understanding, we don’t realize that our requests aren’t always what God deems best for us. Prayer is powerful when our petitions are according to His will but not when they’re self-willed (1 John 5:14-15).

What’s amazing is that God uses the prayers of His people to accomplish His plans. He’s completely sufficient without us, but prayer teaches us humility, dependence, submission, and trust. Intimacy with God is built when we come to Him with our praises, thanks, confessions, and petitions. The profit of prayer is not that can we receive something but that we’re able to relate to the One who supplies all our needs.


When We Feel Helpless

No matter how helpless we feel in a situation, God is sufficient.

2 Chronicles 20:1-4

Have you ever felt totally helpless? Can you remember facing a situation or emergency in which you were powerless? It’s a sobering experience for anyone. Even people who claim to be wholly dependent on God still like to feel as if they have some control over their circumstances.

Jehoshaphat faced a moment like that when news came that three different armies had joined forces to destroy Israel. He was afraid because the enemies were great in number. What’s more, he remembered being in grave danger the last time he was on the battlefield (1 Kings 22:29-33). But now, in this moment of helplessness, Jehoshaphat also knew there was only One who could help—the Lord God. Despite his fear, Jehoshaphat neither ran away nor charged into battle; rather, he “turned his attention to seek the Lord” (2 Chron. 20:3). He also called on others to pray. And seeking God in a seemingly hopeless situation changed the attitude of the entire nation.

When circumstances make you feel afraid and out of control, turn your attention away from the problem and onto our mighty God. It takes faith to reject self-sufficiency, but the Lord honors those who depend on Him.


Your Hope Journal

Sometimes the best encouragement is a reminder of what God has done in our past.

2 Chronicles 20:5-12

Yesterday we saw that when facing an intimidating military force, King Jehoshaphat immediately sought the Lord in prayer. But he didn’t begin with anxious requests for deliverance. Instead, after focusing attention on God’s power over all earthly kingdoms, he recounted the Lord’s past faithfulness and mighty acts on behalf of Israel. Jehoshaphat also recalled God’s promise to hear and save the nation when they cried out for help. Only then did the king make his request.  

This is a good pattern for our prayers as well. Unfortunately, we at times have a short memory when it comes to the Lord’s interventions on our behalf. If that’s the case, then later, when we’re fearful again, it’s hard to remember specific ways God has already proven Himself.

This is why I encourage every believer to keep a journal—a written record of the Lord’s faithfulness. During times of helplessness, we want encouragement, not just from how God has worked in history or in the world, but from the particular ways He has worked in our own life.

When you take time to record specific things that your heavenly Father has done, you’ll gain greater understanding of His loving purposes. He will begin to reveal how He’s been working to make your life a beautiful display of His glory.


Standing Firm

If we want to withstand trials and evil temptations, we must plant ourselves on a foundation of faith.

Ephesians 6:10-17

Did you know that you’re in a battle every day of your life? The enemy’s goal is to weaken, deceive, and lead believers astray. God protects all who belong to Him, so wicked forces can never touch our salvation (1 Peter 1:3-5). But they can lead us into sin, cause discouragement, ruin our witness for Christ, and bring about other damage.

The main charge in today’s passage is “Stand firm,” and it’s mentioned three times (Eph. 6:11; Eph. 6:13-14). Paul says the purpose of the armor of God is to enable us to stand our ground in the battle, and his list of armor would not be complete without the footwear mentioned in verse 15. The soles of a Roman soldier’s sandals were studded with iron hobnails, which enabled him to stand his ground against an enemy assault.

Today our anchoring footwear is faith in the gospel, which not only grants us peace with the heavenly Father but also makes us Satan’s adversaries. So plant your feet and anchor yourself on a solid foundation of faith. When we don’t avail ourselves of the protection provided through Christ, we’re more likely to give way in the fight and yield to Satan’s temptations.

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A Strong Foundation

Circumstances cannot shake a strong foundation of faith.

Psalm 62:1-12

In a tumultuous world, where can stability be found? We can’t count on political leaders, financial institutions, healthcare providers, or any other human institution to keep us safe and secure. There is only one sure foundation, and that is the Lord our God.

David, who wrote today’s psalm, lived with many dangers and trials. But he knew that with God as his stronghold, he would not be deeply shaken by earthly events. And that is true for anyone who knows Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. He’s characterized by love, justice, and faithfulness in His interactions with us. We can have great confidence because our God is self-existent and unchangeable. He knows all things, has all power, and is present everywhere.

Is your faith grounded on these truths about your Rock? Do you believe God is completely dependable in His dealings with you? Can you trust that He loves you during hard times when you’re still waiting for prayers to be answered? Do you accept that His guidance is based on His unlimited knowledge and love for you, even when you don’t understand or like His choices for your life? This is what constitutes a strong foundation of faith.


Our Eternal Home

Heaven is more than an idea—it is a real place of healing, restoration, and unimaginable joy.

John 14:1-6

When Jesus told His disciples He was going away, He promised to return and take them to His Father’s house, where He had prepared a place for them. This confirms that heaven is a real place, not some ethereal cloud where we play harps.

We tend to think of anything heavenly as less tangible than earth, but Scripture suggests the opposite. Hebrews 11:10 tells us that by faith, Abraham “was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” And Revelation 21:10-27 describes this city—called the New Jerusalem—in great detail. Unlike earth, the kingdom of heaven cannot be shaken (Hebrews 12:27-28). It exists forever, and we’ll be worshipping and serving the Lord there.

As Christians, we know our citizenship is in heaven. When we die, our spirits immediately go there (2 Corinthians 5:8), into the presence of the Lord, awaiting the immortal body we’ll be given at Christ’s return. That new body will be perfectly suited for heaven and free from the temptations, trials, heartaches, pain, and death that make life on earth so wearying. There will be rest, not from activity and fulfilling work, but from the consequences of sin that plague us here. I believe the joy we’ll experience when we finally see our Savior face to face is beyond our imagination.


The Only Way to Heaven

In Jesus' death and resurrection, we have a path to eternal life in heaven.

Matthew 7:13-14

One of the most difficult truths of Christianity is that there’s but one way to heaven: Jesus Christ. People would rather believe that all paths lead to God—and that no religion can exclude someone. But in John 14:6, Jesus claimed to be “the way” and explicitly said, “No one comes to the Father except through Me.”  

That raises an important question: How do we come to God through Jesus? It’s not by means of religious rituals, good works, or self-effort—because even “our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment” before God (Isaiah 64:6). Scripture provides the answer: We are saved by God’s grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8). And that means we must ...

Hear the message of the gospel. It includes both the bad news of our sinful condition and the good news that God offers forgiveness through faith in His Son (Ephesians 1:7).

Acknowledge our need of a Savior. This involves repentance and faith. We turn from our sins and believe that Jesus died to pay the penalty for our wrongdoing and then rose from the dead. Trusting in the Savior allows us to stop living for ourselves and to start living for Him instead (Romans 6:10-11).

Truly, the way to salvation is narrow, but it’s the only path that leads away from condemnation and into the eternal glory of heaven.

@Keith posted:

Your Hope Journal

Sometimes the best encouragement is a reminder of what God has done in our past.

2 Chronicles 20:5-12

Yesterday we saw that when facing an intimidating military force, King Jehoshaphat immediately sought the Lord in prayer. But he didn’t begin with anxious requests for deliverance. Instead, after focusing attention on God’s power over all earthly kingdoms, he recounted the Lord’s past faithfulness and mighty acts on behalf of Israel. Jehoshaphat also recalled God’s promise to hear and save the nation when they cried out for help. Only then did the king make his request.  

This is a good pattern for our prayers as well. Unfortunately, we at times have a short memory when it comes to the Lord’s interventions on our behalf. If that’s the case, then later, when we’re fearful again, it’s hard to remember specific ways God has already proven Himself.

This is why I encourage every believer to keep a journal—a written record of the Lord’s faithfulness. During times of helplessness, we want encouragement, not just from how God has worked in history or in the world, but from the particular ways He has worked in our own life.

When you take time to record specific things that your heavenly Father has done, you’ll gain greater understanding of His loving purposes. He will begin to reveal how He’s been working to make your life a beautiful display of His glory.

Amen..thisis how our faith grows ie by remembering how God answered past prayers n how he brought us thru before.


Unforgiveness and Hate

The sooner we confront hatred in our heart, the brighter our witness will shine.

Ephesians 4:31-32

One of the most destructive attitudes a believer can display is hate. Think about it: How well can the light of Christ shine through a life that’s shrouded in anger, bitterness, and malice? Such a demeanor doesn’t reflect a positive image of Jesus to non-Christians. But the problem affects more than our witness to the unbelieving world. Even in churches, it’s not difficult to find individuals brimming over with hostility. Where does this attitude come from?

One reason some believers struggle with hatred is an inability to forgive a hurt. Is that you?

Think about someone who wronged you in the past, and ask yourself three questions:

1. If you hate someone, you cannot shake the memory. Does the scene play out in your mind over and over?

2. If you hate someone, you cannot wish him or her well. Do you want the best for a person who has hurt you?

3. If you hate someone, you want that person to hurt, too. Do you secretly desire for this individual to experience the pain that you suffered?

Have these questions revealed any hidden animosity in your heart? If so, don’t leave this page without prayerfully meditating on Ephesians 4:31-32. Read the passage aloud. Then personalize it into a prayer, and let the Holy Spirit move you to forgive an old hurt.


Learning to Forgive

Forgiveness means sharing the same gift Jesus extended to us—regardless of the offense.

Colossians 3:12-15

We’ll often try to justify an angry, unforgiving heart by thinking, Well, the Lord knows what that person did to me. So He gets why I feel this way. Certainly Jesus—who was fully God and fully man—knows human emotions inside and out. In fact, He Himself experienced betrayal and abandonment, so it’s true that He understands our pain. Nevertheless, He does not approve of an unforgiving attitude.

Through the Savior, we see how God views forgiveness, even when it comes to the vilest offenses. And consider this: We are the ones who continually betray Him. How? We’ve denied Him His rightful place in our life, doubted His Word, and ignored His instruction. There are times we kick Him out of our daily activities and decisions so we can pursue things more to our own liking. What’s more, we have sinned against both Him and other people.

And what is Jesus’ disposition towards us? “Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Now, do you really believe He will justify our unforgiveness? No, He wants us to instead look at the cross. There we will discover the price that was paid for our own forgiveness. Just as we have been forgiven, so we must now become forgivers (Col. 3:13).


Lessons in Sonship

As God's Son, Jesus perfectly demonstrated for us what it means to be children of God.

John 8:25-59

Jesus’ assertion that He was the Son of God incited fury in the religious leaders of His day. Yet His explanation to them so many centuries ago helps us understand how to act like God’s children today:

He spoke His Father’s words to the world (John 8:26). And we were given the same assignment: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15).

Christ did nothing on His own initiative (John 8:28). Sonship requires surrender to the Father’s authority.

•The Son spoke as the Father taught Him (John 8:28). We should rely on the truth of God’s Word, not our own wisdom.

Jesus did what pleased the Father (John 8:29). God’s children no longer live for their own pleasures but seek the joy of obeying their heavenly Father.

Christ pursued the Father’s glory, not His own (John 8:49-50; John 8:54). In the same way, we’re to humble ourselves and exalt the Lord in our thoughts and behavior.

He knew His Father (John 8:55). Like Christ, believers have the same privilege of intimacy with God.

We are God’s children only because of the faithful obedience of His Son. Christ opened the door for our adoption, showered us with blessings, and demonstrated how we are to walk in faith. Now we are to follow His example.


The Attitude of a Saint

God lavishes His grace on us despite our sinful past—which should inspire us to live for Him.

1 Corinthians 15:9-10

The apostle Paul had a mindset that Christians are wise to emulate (1 Corinthians 11:1). It included:

Humility. Pride can’t exist in the heart of a believer who truly grasps God’s mercy. Paul spread the gospel because he believed in the sufficiency of God’s grace to save sinners like himself—and you and me.

A sense of obligation. Paul understood how far God’s grace had brought him. He frequently reminded others of his role in persecuting the church (1 Timothy 1:13-15) and allowed his past to fuel his gratitude for salvation.

A sense of dependence. Here is how the apostle described the source of his strength: “By the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Corinthians 15:10). He knew what it was to work at being religious by depending on his own efforts—and he wanted no part of it. Paul desired more of Jesus and none of himself (Philippians 3:4-8).

A spirit of absolute confidence. Even at the end of Paul’s life, he remained confident in the Lord and looked forward to his eternal reward (2 Timothy 4:6-8).

Do you see these attitudes in yourself? Praise the Lord for all that He’s done, and let it motivate you to work for His kingdom. May the grace He showers on you never be in vain (1 Corinthians 15:10).