Acts 9:10-19, “There was a disciple in Damascus by the name of Ananias. The Master spoke to him in a vision: “Ananias.” “Yes, Master?” he answered. “Get up and go over to Straight Avenue. Ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus. His name is Saul. He’s there praying. He has just had […]
No one has every done anything that they didn’t want to do! Almost everyone would disagree with that statement and everyone who disagrees would be wrong. Almost everyone would say they have been made to do something they didn’t want to do. It could have been by their parents, their boss, maybe a spouse (I […]
Proverbs 13:4 (TLB) Lazy people want much but get little, while the diligent are prospering
Don’t you want more out of life? Are you really satisfied just going with the flow – that isn’t actually going anywhere?
One thing I am known for saying to drivers ahead of me is, “Are you driving, or parking?” I say that to the driver who is driving so slowly, they could just as well be parked. We often get stuck behind people who are simply not making good progress, or are comfortable resting in their current location. Being in that position only makes us frustrated when we desire more for ourselves – and we should, we were created for greatness. But, we stay stuck behind someone who isn’t going anywhere simply because they think great things and we get comfortable with simply dreaming and thinking big. In many cases, those parked people are our friends, or family. We don’t want to think about venturing into something with people we don’t know or trust, or we don’t want to “go it alone.” You have your own destiny that is not necessarily attached to those around you. Pursue your our dreams! Blaze your own trail as “they” say.
Let this year be the year you venture away from lazy dreamers and purpose to go farther and do better. Make a name for yourself; It’s your time!
So far as we’ve been told, Matthew 6:9-13 is “The Lord’s Prayer.” But, in this text Jesus was only giving a model; a template of how to assemble our prayers. In the 17th chapter of the book of John, we see what is an actual, authentic prayer of Our Lord and Savior, also knows as, The High Priestly Prayer. He uses the template found in Matthew and constructs this deep, moving, meaningful prayer directly to his Father. May our own prayers for one another be so intricate, in the name of Jesus! AMEN
After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
6 “I have revealed you[a] to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of[b] your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by[c] that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.
13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by[d] the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you[e] known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
I Corinthians 15:9-11
“For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. Whether, then, it is I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.”
Someone told me a few years ago that I should never say, “I am who I am,” because there is no such thing. But, I beg to differ. People don’t like to hear that because they expect us to be different; more like them perhaps. It’s the same thing as saying, “what you see is what you get.” People are funny. We act like we can’t stand something about someone, and then they change, turn their life around, and we act like that is not good enough either. (SMH). In the text above the Apostle Paul had changed – for the better – but people still turned up their noses at him. He was condemned for persecuting Christians in the past, and then was rejected for becoming a follower of Christ and spreading the very Gospel he spoke so freely against. But here Paul is saying, “Look, I know what kind of person I used to be, but I am a changed man, due only to the unearned, undeserved, unjustified love, kindness, and favor of God (GRACE).”
And so you can make this claim for yourself – “But by the grace of God, I am what I am.” If you have decided to follow Christ, it doesn’t matter how badly you treated people, or how off the mark you kept shooting, or that you were just awkward with every move you made. Heaven has forgiven and wiped the slate clean. When you opened your heart to God and made him the Lord of your life, he started making all things new in you. Yesterday is yesterday, today his mercies are new (Lamentations 3:22-23). People around you are uncomfortable and don’t know how to react because you have changed, and they have not.
Paul called himself the least of the Apostles, the chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). If God could use a man committed to persecuting his children, certainly he will use you for good and for his glory. God can change you, rearrange things in your life, and raise you levels above your adversaries. He can change your heart and change your mind. It is the power of his grace that will turn you into a mouthpiece to spread his message, and a masterpiece to show the world what he can do.
The world might turn against you and refuse to accept the new you, but you have a great purpose. God’s grace is relentless enough to pursue you for as long as it takes to make sure that in your life, you fulfill destiny. Paul faced many hardships and much criticism after becoming a Christ follower, but he vowed to make his life a cause for Christ no matter what, and no matter who stood against him. (Philippians 1:21).
If this is the day you decide to live for Christ, Heaven is rejoicing; embrace the new you- you are what you are by the grace of God! Study to show yourself approved of the calling. Pray for those who still hold grudges and look down on you, and dedicate your life to one of love, grace, and mercy. All will be well with you in the name of Jesus. AMEN.
Be good, be gracious, and be a blessing to someone today.