Productive and Useful

S (Scripture) – 2 Peter 1:5-8 “In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises.  Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledgeand knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godlinessand godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.  The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
O (Observation) – Lord, I see that each of these builds upon one another, and that ultimately, Your desire is for us to be productive and useful for Your kingdom.
Moral excellence – God’s thoughts, Laws, and precepts
KnowledgeDiscovering God’s thoughts, Laws, and precepts
Self-control – Discovering and yielding to God’s thoughts, Laws, and precepts
Patient endurance – Discovering and yielding to God’s thoughts, Laws, and precepts despite direct opposition
Godliness – Discovering and yielding to God’s thoughts, Laws, and precepts despite direct opposition which leads to a reverence toward God and others.
Brotherly affection – Discovering and yielding to God’s thoughts, Laws, and precepts despite direct opposition which leads to a reverence toward God and others that is a genuine outpouring of God’s love.
LoveThe Greek word for this kind of love (agape) is “a deliberate desire for the highest good in the one loved.”  When we discover and yield to God’s thoughts, Laws, and precepts despite direct opposition which leads to a reverence toward God and others that is a genuine outpouring of God’s (agape) love, we are then…
= Productive and Useful
A (Application) – It is necessary to acquire knowledge in order to learn more about God and His truth.  However, we must be careful to not just go around and build up a knowledge base of facts, but rather, to receive and arm ourselves with God’s promises…hiding them in our hearts, and clinging to them always.  When we have claimed these promises for our lives, we must exercise self-control by the power of the Holy Spirit in our day-to-day walk, despite living in a world that stands diametrically opposed to all that God is and says is true.  By showing reverence to our fellow neighbor, and outpouring God’s love upon this broken world, we will be living a life worthy of the calling He has for us.
P (Prayer) – Lord Jesus, thank You for Your truth.  Thank You, that You ultimately “desire the highest good in the one loved.”  Teach me what it means to truly love like that.  Show me how to love like You have loved me.  The opposite of productive and useful is useless and unfruitful.  Lord, may it never be that I would be considered useless due to my own stubbornness, and may it never be that I would be lacking in bearing fruit for you.

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

What are the spiritual gifts God has given to you?  If you do not know, pray, and seek out Godly men and women who will be able to help you discover them.  EVERY true Christian has spiritual gifts that are to be used in the body of Christ.  We will stand before Jesus one day and have to give an account for how we used the gifts He entrusted to us.  You do NOT want to get to heaven and have Jesus show you what impact your life could have had on His kingdom if you would have only obeyed Him and used your gifts.

Some believers may appear to be more “gifted” than others in certain respects.  This does not negate the fact that all believers have gifts…if the measure of the gift entrusted to you is greater, then the responsibility to use that gift is even greater.  Jesus said in Luke 12:48, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.”

S (Scripture) – 1 Peter 4:10 “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”

O (Observation) – Lord, I see that You have given us these gracious gifts – but they really belong to You – You’ve entrusted each of us with them for a particular purpose – to use in building up the body of Christ.  When we are entrusted with much, more is expected of us.

A (Application) – I am being called to be a good steward of the gifts you have given to me by serving the body of Christ.  Just as Jesus shared in the parable of the talents, You have entrusted each of Your followers with gifts and will be examining how we went about using them for Your glory on this earth.

P (Prayer) – Thank You, Lord, for Your gifts.  Help me to use them for Your kingdom.

Always Be Ready

S (Scripture) – 1 Peter 3:15 “…but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”

O (Observation) – Lord, I see clearly that when You are on the throne of my life and my heart, I will easily be able to “make a defense to everyone to asks” about the hope that is in me.  It will be bubbling up and outward as an overflow of Your Spirit.

A (Application) – Always be ready to share when asked, and always be proactively building relationships with others and purposefully/intentionally showing the light of Christ.

P (Prayer) – Lord, may I always seek You first, before all else – help me to share You with others.

Pure Spiritual Milk

S (Scripture) – 1 Peter 2:2 “…like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.”

O (Observation) – Lord, You tell us that salvation is something that “grows,” and we accomplish this by consuming Your word, like milk.  Just as a newborn baby needs milk to grow and develop properly, the “baby Christian” cannot expect to grow properly without the milk of God’s word.  Your promise to grow us up is true – the Word is living and active (Hebrews 4:12), and accomplishes what it set out to do – it will not return void (Isaiah 55:11)!

A (Application) – It is impossible to really grow as a disciple without God’s word – we will be spiritually malnourished.  Even as we grow in our faith, God’s word is our key to deepening our relationship with Him.  May I never stop reading, learning, and enjoying God’s word!

P (Prayer) – Lord, thank you for Your precious word – may it nourish my soul and continue to transform me to be more like Jesus.

Imperishable Inheritance

S (Scripture) – 1 Peter 1:4, 18, 23 “…to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you…”, “…knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers…”, “…for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.”

O (Observation) – Lord, I see the clear distinction between what is eternal (imperishable), and what is not.  Our achievements by the world’s standards are meaningless in the scope of eternity – only what we do for Your kingdom is our true and eternal inheritance.

A (Application) – May I never become consumed with the world’s definition of success, and stay focused, rather, on Kingdom work.  So many people today focus all of their energy, time, and resources on building a life that will be “meaningful” in our world.  When all that this world has is stripped away, the only thing remaining will be what was accomplished for God’s kingdom.

P (Prayer) – Lord, may I always be in step with Your Spirit, and keep me from the distraction of focusing solely on worldly success.

Making the Most of Every Opportunity

S (Scripture) – Colossians 4:5-6 “Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity.  Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.”

O (Observation) – Lord, I see that You want us to be prepared and intentional about speaking with those who don’t yet know You.  Recognizing that each person needs to have a unique approach is also key.

A (Application) – See every interaction as an opportunity to move that person a little more toward Jesus.  Be a good listener, and authentically connect with them in order to have discernment about how to respond to each person.

P (Prayer) – Lord, may I see every interaction throughout my day as ordained by You, and help me to make the most of every opportunity.

Temporary vs. Eternal

S (Scripture) – Colossians 3:2 “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” NASB  “Pursue the things over which Christ presides.  Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you.  Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ – that’s where the action is.  See things from His perspective.” The Message

O (Observation) – Lord, I see this as a warning against going though life distracted by the unimportant and urgent matters that dominate the fields of our minds.  Especially during certain seasons of life (e.g. small children, graduate school, caring for aging parents, all of this at the same time, etc.) it is easy to see why our attention can be demanded of us in many different places.

A (Application) – I REFUSE to be the person who wakes up one day at age 90, looks around, and wonders where all the time went.  Yes, life is short, but if we are living for the Lord our lives will be so richly abundant that we will have few regrets.  We must submit ourselves to the Lord Jesus each and every moment, allow Him to direct our steps, and be intentional about being in step with the Spirit.  Then, we can be sure that our time on earth was not squandered on trivial matters that ultimately will not matter in the light of eternity.

P (Prayer) – Lord, guide each day of my life for Your kingdom’s work.  Help me to not become distracted by circumstances that ultimately have no impact in the grand scheme of eternity.