Big Day, Epic Though!
I believe it's time for a new though. Have you ever signed a contract? The word contract simple means and agreement to terms between two parties. The google dictionary defines it as: a written or spoken agreement, especially one concerning employment, sales, or tenancy, that is intended to be enforceable by law. Some synonyms are agreement, commitment, arrangement, settlement, understanding...
A covenant is another word often used for a contract, it also involves two or more parties. In the Old Testament there was a covenant made with Abraham also there was a covenant made with Moses and Israel. This was God agreeing with His people. And His people agreeing with the terms of the covenant Exodus 19:5, Exodus 19:8
Both parties agreed. The problem with the original, or "Old" Covenant was not God's part, but Man's. Humanity could not live up to the contract, the "covenant". In the Old Testament the covenant failed, not because of God, but because of us. However, in the New testament, a different word for Covenant is used. You read about the "New" Covenant in Hebrews 8:8-13, and Matt 26: 17-29. In verse 28 it says, " For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."
The word here used for New Covenant in Great is different than the word used for the Old Covenant. The greek word here is, διαθήκη (diathēkē) which is typically used in greek to mean something that most resembles a will, rather than a contract. The beauty of this is that a will is not an agreement between two parties, but a statement made by one and passed on to another.
In other words, when Jesus died and poured out His blood for us, He left us His last Will (a document), a contract made by Him, not with us, but given to us. It is as if when He died, He just left the most valuable thing in the universe there for us to accept. We could do nothing to attain it. Just receive it. The price was paid, the gift was given. He died and left us His Will, for us to have eternal life. It was paid for you.
Prayer: Dear God, you gave everything for me, and today, I choose to accept your Will. I choose to accept the gift that you are giving to me. Thank you, Jesus, for dying for me. For signing this "New Covenant" for me, with your blood. You died for me I choose to live for you.
Can we be who we need to be?
Have you ever felt like you are not enough, inadequate maybe? Much of the world struggles with this same feeling. Many people feel a lack of purpose. Many do not feel like they are doing what they are meant to do. Perhaps these feelings of inadequacy are due to our sinful nature. Romans 3:32 says, "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." According to scripture none of us are living up to our potential.
However, that doesn't mean that we can't get there. God said, "seek and you will find" Jeremiah 29:13. Jesus also said, "Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." in Matthew 11:29-30.
Remember Genesis 1:27 says that we were created in God's image. This essentially means that our purpose is to be Holy. To be loving. Our PURPOSE, the thing that will give us feelings of fulfillment, is to be in the image of God, to be like Him. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, "He has also set eternity in the human heart;" NIV. Our desire, our longing to feel what is missing, can only be solved by Jesus recreating in us the heart that we are supposed to have. Psalm 51:10 David asked God to give him a clean heart. 2 Corinthians 5:17, says, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."
God wants to recreate in you the image of the perfect and loving God of the universe. He wants to Baptize you with His Holy Spirit and make you Holy. He wants to make you the way you were meant to be.
Read: John 3
What is Jesus telling Nicodemus? Today will you ask God to make you Holy, to cover you with His Holy Spirit. To wash you in the Blood of Jesus so that He can make you live out your PURPOSE.
Prayer: Great God, you are Holy, we are not, please Lord create in us a heart like yours. Make us Holy so we can be who you ment us to be. Accept us even though we are broken, and make us who you want us to be.
What is man?
Maybe it's obvious to you, or maybe it's not. Something like defining who God is is not that simple. If the God of the Bible is who He says He is then because we are mere humans, it would then be impossible for us to fully understand a God that is everywhere, always was, always will be and is all knowing.
God is clearly much bigger than our understanding. But this doesn't mean we cannot get some sort of grasp of who God is.
As we read yesterday, God is Love. As the Bible describes it, this is His primary attribute. It is who He is. The Bible also describes Him as Creator, and as Holy. There are many other attributes to God and I do not want to oversimplify Him to you. But one thing I have noticed is that when in Genesis 1:27, scripture says that we were made in God's image it means that our original design, before sin, was that we should be a likeness of God, a reflection of Him.
In other words, our PURPOSE, the WHY behind us, is that we were made to be holy, loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering and so much more. We were made, our PURPOSE is to be good, and holy. Our PURPOSE is to be like God. Our WHY, is then profound. Our WHY is amazing. We are made to reflect God's character. I don't know about you, but for me that is a wow moment.
Your PURPOSE is to be like God. Allow that to sink in for a minute. And tomorrow, we will dig deeper.
Pray: God, help me to understand this. Help me to understand what it means for who I am, that I am to reflect like a mirror who you are. How can I ever do this God? Teach me.
Read: Romans Chapter 3, Psalm 144:3-4
When I think about PURPOSE, I always think about the why. Why do I want or need to do something? Why should I do something? PURPOSE is what motivates our PLANS.
PURPOSE is the why behind our PLANS or His PLANS. Our PURPOSE is the reason we do things, it's the motivation behind our PLAN. If you want to know God's PLAN you need to know the "why" behind it. We need to know God's PURPOSE for us.
If I want ice cream, I can have a plan to attain it. The PURPOSE is still to get ice cream. There is no PLAN without a PURPOSE. If we were to live without a PURPOSE, there would be no point in having a PLAN. A PLAN is pointless without a PURPOSE.
What then is the PURPOSE?
What is our God given PURPOSE?
Genesis 1:26 "Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image" NKJV
God made us in His image. We must understand our, why. God created us to reflect Him. Our why has to do with His image. Our why has to do with who He is. We are to be a reflection of who He is!
Our PURPOSE is to be like Him. But this also poses another question we must answer tomorrow. Who then is God? To reflect Him we must know or have some idea of who He is.
Something to think about; 1 John 4:8, Psalm 99:1-3, John 3:16-17, Psalm 51:10
Prayer: Lord make me in your image again, Help me to fulfill your PURPOSE in me. Teach me your ways Lord that I may be like you.
I got lucky, God boldly told me what to do in life. He clearly communicated with me what His PLAN, was for me. Now I know many of you don't experience that kind of clarity. Like I said I was fortunate. Believe it or not, I know how you feel. Even though God told me what I was going to do in my life, I ignored Him for a long time. It was during those years, I did not know what I was to do, I did not have a well laid out PLAN.
The interesting thing is that although God has a PLAN for each of us, the reality is that it doesn't really matter what the PLAN is if you don't know what your PURPOSE is. The PLAN is different than the PURPOSE.
I knew for a long time that God's PLAN for me was to be a pastor. However, if I did not know His PURPOSE for me. The PLAN would be of no importance.
God's PLAN for Abraham was to be a light to the world. Genesis 12:1-3; 22:18.
But if Abraham did not understand God's PURPOSE for Him, His PLAN would have been useless.
There is a PLAN for your but without GOD's PURPOSE, the plan is useless.
I can be a Pastor, but unless I am fulfilling God's PURPOSE my being a pastor is pointless.
Tomorrow we will find out more about what this PURPOSE is.
Prayer: God, help me to know your purpose and to understand who you want me to be. Show me your plan for me so that I can fulfill your purpose within me.
Read: Jeremiah 29:11-13, Matthew 5:13-16, Psalm 51:10
The last few months have been a crazy busy time. I am sure they have been for you also. Does life ever slow down? Or do we have to take the time to slow it down ourselves? I think that part of finding peace in this life is using our time wisely. Over the past few months, I have not been planning my day as I had been in the past. Since then I have noticed a trend towards chaos, and busyness.
Our God is a God of order, and I believe that just as He wants us to tithe our money, He also wants us to tithe our time. Gen 2:1-3, Proverbs 6:6-11, Colossians 4:5
During the days in which I am diligent about scheduling things, I notice that time moves at a more manageable and peaceful pace. But when I get up and rush through the day with no plan, it sets me up for a much more stressful and frantic day.
I need to covenant personally to be more diligent with my time management. As a friend said this past weekend in his sermon, "Let's redeem our time for God."
If you would like to listen to His sermon click here.
In Scripture there is a word used, "Steward" This is an old word, but essentially it means, the manager of the owner's things.
God has called us to be stewards of what he gives us. He definitely gives us time. Let's use it to glorify Him.
Journal: Write down three specific ways that you could do a better job of managing your time.
Prayer: God teach me today, to use my time wisely for you. Teach me to schedule my priorities around yours. Help me to plan out my day, and to glorify you in all that I do.
Triathlon trained me.
About 4 and a half years ago, I started a journey. I began an epic trial, I was convinced that I should do a triathlon. Since then I have participated in at least one per year. I love the sport. Not because I win, not because I don't. I love it because it teaches me lessons about myself. I have learned what it means to push on, even if I don't want to. I have learned that it doesn't matter your age, if you have the desire you can push forward to the end. I have learned that I can do things I never thought possible.
This can relate to our Christian journey. For one thing, triathlons are much harder if you don't train daily. It's the same with our spiritual journey. It must be a daily exercise. Without a daily commitment to training for a race, one would quickly fail. Without a daily walk with God, one would quickly fail. Some have the impression that once we give our lives to God we are good no matter what, this cannot be farther from the truth.
Daily we need to build our relationship or daily we will fall away from God.
Read: John 15:1-17
What does the word abide imply? What happens when a plant does not continually have nourishment from the roots? Genesis 5:22 talks about Enoch walking with God, what does the Bible mean when it talks about a walk?
Prayer: Lord God, give me the desire today, to build a relationship with You. Send your Holy Spirit that He may live in me, that I may be drawn closer to my Savior.
The privilege of sharing.
When we are teaching our kids to share, one of the concepts that we don't seem to convey well is how it's not a sad thing to share as you give something up, but that it is a great joy to share because we get to see the joy in someone else's life as they benefit from our generosity.
To share is a privilege, to share is valuable.
This weekend I got the privilege to share.
The idea of this blog is thoughts that will help us grow closer to God on a regular basis. I think the reality is that this is a process of a lifetime. We should always be striving to know God more. This past weekend I was extremely blessed. I got the exciting privilege of speaking at the Alive Youth Rally, that takes place yearly in Spartanburg, South Carolina. What a great event! It is amazing to see so many young people, passionately opening up to the God of the universe. Today as I think, and mentally analyze the weekend, a thought that comes to my mind was how much I was lifted up, by sharing the gospel.
Yes, I grew closer to God in the many hours that I spent preparing the messages. Hours spent in prayer, Bible study and reading. The blessing of seeing hundreds of youth come forward when a call was made. When a young person comes up to me and thanks me for speaking in a real manner to them. Or when people come forward to take part in the Lord's Supper as they accept Christ's covenant into their hearts. That is where the real blessing comes. In my few years of ministry, and my few years as a Christian I have descovered that nothing draws me closer to God, than sharing Him with others. There really is nothing better. So today I have a challenge for you. Share Him! You don't have to be a speaker, or an evangelist. Just show God's love to others. Some of the best sharing experiences that I remember where one on one, with people I have just met.
Prayer: Lord use me today, tomorrow and everyday, to share your gospel of love with others. Use me, to share your message so that others, and myself may grow closer to you. Help me to lift you up so that others may be drawn to you.
Read: Mark 10:29-31
Journal: What does this blessing entail? Is it earthly things or is it the greatest fulfillment one could recieve in their heart? Is your heart full today? When was the last time you shared Jesus with someone else?
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.