Last night I was talking with a nice couple about gardening. I have this strange idea that I would love to grow a great garden. Why? Because I love garden fresh produce, it is a thousand times better than store bought. I love tomatoes, and store tomatoes are flavorless. But when you till up the soil, fertilize, and plant a tomato seed, after a little patience you get something that tastes indescribably good. There is not much in my mind that tastes better than a homegrown tomato on a tomato sandwich. My mouth is watering just writing about it. MMM, so good.
The funny thing is even though I love to have a good garden since we have moved to the south, it is a lot more work, the soil is not great, the weeds take over, and I just can't find the time to deal with all the labor. Last year my garden looked like an overrun jungle. It was terrible. Quickly the vines and weeds grew up killing many of my plants.
This can happen in our Spiritual life. Anyone can have a great garden, with a little care. Anyone can be a spiritual giant if they will put in a little time. We must continually be connected with Jesus or the bad weeds will quickly develop into bad habits and push Jesus out of our lives.
Today read the Lord's prayer.
When this prayer was given in Luke the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. What can you learn from this prayer? What does Jesus mean when He says daily bread?
Prayer: Great God in Heaven, You are Holy, help us to honor you as such. Let your will be done for the betterment of this planet and for your people. Let all of Heaven bring glory to you. Teach us, Father, to rely on you daily, supply for our spiritual and physical needs. Keep us from having an overgrown garden of weeds in our hearts. Help us to be safe from the deceptions of Satan. For your way is the only way. Live in us today. In your name Jesus we pray. Amen
Me a pedicure?
A few months ago, my wife and I had planned an afternoon date. I asked her, "Where would you like to go?" She said, "A pedicure." Now to understand this story, you must understand that I am a "manly" man, or at least I think I am. I like to build things and cut down trees, I like to fix cars and work hard. This, however, does not mean I don't take care of myself, I do. I try to anyways. I have never before had a pedicure or felt the need to have one. My wife said, "Your feet are nasty. It will be good." So, with a desire to spend quality time with the woman I love, I did what every man should do. I agreed to do what my wife requested of me. I went and got a pedicure.
The poor little Asian woman had no idea what she was getting into when she came over to work on these "man" feet. My wife was enjoying her pedicure and had finished hers before my attendant was even done digging stuff out from around my toe's. It was minor surgery.
This was a strange and unusual experience for me, I am not really big on someone washing my feet, nor would I want to take a job to wash someone's feet.
Here is a video my wife took from when the lady was scrubbing my feet with something that looked like a cheese grader.
To me, to touch or care for someone else's feet is a huge act of humility. It is an important act that I believe everyone should do. We may even need to take a deep look into our hearts, and ask, "Lord wash me!"
Read the story of John 13:1-17
Journal: What does it mean, that Jesus was willing to wash the disciple's feet? How does it make you feel that Jesus would be willing to do this to you? What does this say to you? What is God calling you to do?
Pray: Oh Lord, humble my heart today, make me willing to serve. Create in me a desire to do anything for the people you love. Help me to have the love for others that you do. Help me to appreciate the service that you were willing to do for me. Forgive me Lord for the times I have not been willing to humbly serve. Make me like you Jesus.
Comfort in His voice.
This morning I was reading John 10:1-30. Go ahead and read it. Then read Psalm 23:1-4. There as I read and prayed over scripture. God gave me a moment of clarity and understanding.
Who is a shepherd? This is a real question that most of us must ask, we are no longer living in agrarian society.
Dictionary.com defines it as, a person who herds, tends, and guards sheep.
A Shepherd then is the father to the sheep, he takes care of them. He protects them from danger. He provides them with the things that they need to be safe, comfortable, and happy. A shepherd is a guardian, a provider, a comforter.
Jesus says that the sheep know his voice. This is an interesting thought because when sheep become accustomed to a shepherd, they can be off wandering, grazing in a field and if a random stranger calls, they will ignore their voice. But when they hear the voice of the one they trust. The voice of the one that they know protects them, the one that leads them to safety, the one who fights for them. Then they come immediately. The sheep will not respond to anyone but the shepherd's voice. But in His voice, they find comfort, solace, and care.
Journal: If Jesus is the Shepherd what does He want for you? If he is calling what should our response be? Spend some time today thinking about this beautiful illustration, how can this better help you better understand His relationship to you?
Pray: Lord, be my Shepherd. When the road is rough, when the valleys are dangerous, be my Shepherd. Lord protect me, and lead me always back home, to be safe in your fold. Help me, Lord, that I may feel that I have a place of hope and refuge in you.
If you don't have a fold of Sheep to worship with, feel free to contact me, I will do my best to help you find a fold that Jesus watches over. That would gladly welcome you in.
What's in your beard?
How did you know when something is wrong? A couple of days ago, my wife and I were talking, she paused, looked straight into my eyes and said, "You need to take a shower!" I was taken back and got defensive, but she knows best.
My response was, "I haven't gone for a run yet, what is the point of me getting clean if I am just going to get stinky."
How would I know that I needed a shower if there wasn't some identifier? How would I know if there was food in my beard unless someone was to tell me?
Lately, it seems like you can't tell anyone that something is wrong, for fear of offending them. This is not the approach that Jesus takes, he told people boldly that they needed to stop sinning.
We have more fear of offending then we do fear for people's salvation. Perhaps love is not fear of offense but fear for other peoples salvation. Are we costing people a chance to walk with Jesus if we aren't open with them.
I am always happy when my friends are bold enough to tell me when I am doing something I shouldn't. Yes it may hurt at first but once I realize they love me and want the best for me, I am glad they told me. Then I can learn and change. However if something is not spoken out of love it's like a loud noise that will not help me.
I guess the moral is, love others, and when they know you love them, you can help them.
Read: John 8:1-11
Read: Psalms 36:5-7
Read: 1 Corinthians 13
Journal: How does love change things?
Pray: Teach me to love oh God, teach me to see through Your eyes, that I might be changed, that You remain, and all my flawes are washed away.
To pray? Or not to pray?
I will be the first to admit, that I do not really know how to pray. I have been studying and learning more all the time better ways to pray. For the most part, I have felt like this area of my life has been lacking. I think the first step to a better prayer life is time. Many of us spend far too little time investing in our prayer lives.
Would you be happy if you only talked to your spouse or best friend for a minute a day? Imagine with me for a minute, that your closest friend comes to you and says, "Hey ________, I would like to hang out, I need to run, can you keep me safe, and watch over my family, oh so yesterday, I was disobedient can you forgive me, and help me not to do it again. Thanks, friend. Talk to you tomorrow. When tomorrow comes, your best friend walks in and says the exact same thing. How would that make you feel? Do you think you would keep a strong relationship? Then we wonder so often why we don't have a great walk with God.
It's ok, you don't know how to pray. I get it. Most of us don't. Let's think about the people that did and learn from them.
Read: Daniel 6:1-10
Journal: What did Daniel do to pray? How often did he set aside time? Do you think this was the only time Daniel prayed? What can you take away from this story in regards to prayer?
Pray: Today try praying through an acronym.
P = Praise God
R = Repent, ask God to forgive you for whatever you need to.
A = Ask, ask God whatever you need.
I = Intercession, this means to ask on behalf of others.
S = Pray through Scripture. (Pick a few verses and pray as they remind you of what to pray about.)
E = Enjoy God's presence. Just sit in silence and listen.
What have you been missing?
I saw this video and was brought to tears of joy for these people. It is something amazing when your eyes are open to something you have never seen before. As Christians this is our job, we are to bring Christ into people's lives. To declare the love of Jesus to others. To bring a hope that they have never seen before.
For much of the world, the things that we as Christians do probably looks stupid. Pointless, and just plain odd.
"The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit." John 3:8. NKJV
For the most part, people don't see an instantaneous change, but many changes over time. If I was to look at myself in Christ today, as compared to who I was 18 years ago when I first gave my life back to Christ, I would be blown away by the difference. Yes, there is a change that occurs when we first meet Jesus. But the real character change happens as we allow the Spirit of God to live in us.
The real blessing of putting on Jesus glasses is the knowledge of hope. There is so much hopelessness around us, but in this hopelessness, we can have hope in Jesus.
"For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." John 3:17. NKJV
Read John 3:1-21
Journal: What was Nicodemus looking for? How did Nicodemus find hope? Do you find hope in this?
Pray: Today ask Jesus to send The Hoy Spirit into your life, to Baptize you with His love that you might see the world a new, in the eyes of Jesus.
Are you Selfieish
There is a lot of confusion in our world today. This is interesting because the enemy of God in the book of Revelation is referred to as Babylon. Babylon is the name of an ancient city that was mentioned as the enemy of God's people. They were also very self-centered. Their king, Nebuchadnezzar was very prideful and thought that Babylon was a great city all because of himself, he thought that he should be worshiped. As the people of the city became more and more self-centered, their also became more confusion. In their confusion, (Daniel 6), they lost their city to an inferior kingdom.
It is also interesting to note that the name Babylon had its roots in a previous city. Babel. Babel is the root word for Babylon. The city and tower of Babel was a symbol for confusion as God confused the people's language so that they would not work for their own pride. Their goal was to build a tower and city for themselves, to lift themselves up to show that they didn't need God.
It is interesting that in today's world, we do so much for ourselves, there is a lot of pride and selfishness. What this has done for us is create confusion. We no longer worry about others but only about ourselves.
Something to think about,
Read: 2 Timothy 3:1-5, Genesis 11:1-9
Journal: Are we or are you confused? Are you or we self centered? Have we fallen so far from God, that we only see ourselves and our plans?
Pray that God will take away your selfish tendencies, and help you to see others through His eyes.
Your not you.
I am tired today, and not just tired, I am exhausted. A few years ago, Snickers candy bars came up with an advertisement that stated that, "Your not you when your hungry!" It's very true for me when I am hungry, I get hateful. The same things seems to happen for many people when they are tired. Today I was tired. When I get tired, I am not me. I am a person that needs sleep. In the same sense, I would hypothosis that you are not you when you don't get your spiritual food. If you don't spend time in the Bible, or in prayer you will not be who you could be. God has a plan for us. A plan for us to be all that we can be. If we don't spend time growing in Christ we are not ourselves, the people God intended us to be.
Matthew 5: 6, Jeremiah 29:11-13
Journal: What does this mean for your life? How can you be better prepared, and get closer to God? Makee a plan today, what are 5 things you can do each day to get to know God more. Do you hunger and thirst after God?
Prayer: Praise God today for the things He has done for you. Feel free to ask Him today for His plans for you.
Tonight I was thirsty, but not like super needy thirsty. Instead, it was the unknown thirst. The one that sneaks up on you. When I am thirsty there is nothing better than cold water. Ice cold water! I filled up my metal thermos cup. You know the vacuumed cup that is supposed to keep the water cold for a long time. I threw in some ice. Put the lid on, and then continued about my business, expecting that once I finished what I was doing I would pick it up, and drink a nice refreshing drink of ice cold water. I returned a few minutes later. I began to drink, not knowing how thirsty I was and before I knew it I was done my cool glass of water and realized I needed more. I filled it up again, put the ice in, and walked away. Only to return and slam down another cup. Three more times this happened. I just could not get enough water. Have you ever been thirsty like that? Thirsty yet, you didn't even know you were thirsty until the moment the water slides soothingly over your lips onto your tongue and down your throat, soothing every inch and bringing joy to a moment of need.
This is how it works with our devotional life. You may know you are missing something, but your not sure what it is. Then when you get the good stuff, you have to have more. When you get into the word, you know you need more.
Read John 4:9-16, 25-30.
Journal, What does this water represent? What need did this woman have? What was her reaction when she heard Jesus about being the answer?
Pray that God will satisfy your soul with that kind of deep satisfaction that the sneaky thirst is satisfied with.
I need a hero!
I was reminded of a song tonight. You may have heard it before.
"Where have all the good men gone
And where are all the gods?
Where's the streetwise Hercules to fight the rising odds?
Isn't there a white knight upon a fiery steed?
Late at night I toss and I turn
And I dream of what I need
I need a hero
I'm holding out for a hero 'til the end of the night
He's gotta be strong
And he's gotta be fast
And he's gotta be fresh from the fight
I need a hero"
Holding out for a Hero, by Bonnie Tyler.
What a perfect description of us, looking for something that we are missing. Where are the good men, the gods, the Hercules, and white knights? What are we missing? We are in desperate need to be rescued. men and women alike, we deep down inside want to be saved.
Do you recognize your need for a hero? Oh but you have one. He came riding in to save the day, in a desperate battle He fought for you. He fought to His dying breath. He gave His life for you. Bloody and beaten. Spit on and shamed. He died for you. You want a hero, someone who will fight for you. Someone who will rescue you and make all things right. Perhaps the dream, the fantasy is right in front of your eyes. It's not fantasy, it's real. The hero is Jesus.
Read: John 3:16-17, Psalm 23, Hebrews 9:28
Journal: Think about it. Just stop, and think. What does this mean?
Prayer: Dear God, oh how blind have we been? We have waited for you but you were already waiting for us. We have been longing for you, but our hearts were focused somewhere else. Oh God, you are our hero, you are the one who rescues us. Help us to recognize what you have done for us, that you are the hero we need.
Ryan Hodgins, pastor, coach. Married to a gorgeous wife. Father to three girls. I need this epic walk.
How often do we wonder, "Where am I going? or What is my purpose?" In our day to day life, in our inner walk, many of us are looking for a purpose. You may be here because you want answers. You may be here because you truly want an Epic Walk. For whatever your reason, I am glad you are here. Read on. Enjoy our daily homework and hopefully, you can find more purpose, and begin an Epic Walk.