Waste Not One Moment

S (Scripture) – Romans 13:11-14  “Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.  The night is almost gone, and the day is near.  Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.  Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy.  But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.” NASB

O (Observation) – Lord, the anticipation of Your coming day is the hope to which I cling.  You have commanded us to live a life worthy of our calling (Ephesians 4:1).  If we are chasing after You and Your kingdom, then You have promised to supply all of our needs, have blessed us with every spiritual blessing, and will always be with us.  Why would anyone, after knowing You and Your promises, ever want to go about life as usual – chasing after the world’s standard of success and being lured by the world’s definition of love?

A (Application) – If we knew that tomorrow was going to be the day You come again and all that ultimately mattered in our lives is what we accomplished for You, what would we do differently today?  The sun is indeed setting on this age, and Your new day is dawning.  Help us to remain focused on what is eternal and free us from the incessant distractions this world attempts to thrust upon us.  Help us to look more closely at what we are doing with our time – may we not waste one moment You have gifted to us on things that please the darkness.

P (Prayer) – Thank You, Lord, for rescuing me from the pit of darkness – where I once found myself trapped by the deeds of darkness.  You showed me how to put on Your armor of light; how to put on the Lord Jesus Christ and say, “No more.”  I walk in victory now and experience the abundant life that You promise Your children (John 10:10), only because You are able to take what is shattered and make it whole again…restoration from the inside out.

With Intention

S (Scripture) – Romans 12:9-13 “Let love be without hypocrisy.  Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.” NASB

O (Observation) – Lord, these verses are loaded with so many action verbs – words filled with passion and purpose.  They indicate movement, intentionality, and working toward fulfilling Your kingdom agenda.  They are not words that imply we should be stoic and bounce through this life day-by-day hoping that maybe we will hear some direction from You at some point.

A (Application) – It’s easy to become numb to the world around us.  Distractions abound.  Means of escape via technology are rampant.  One of the most common tactics the enemy will use against us is stealing our time – allowing us to become complacent with the comfort we may find in our lives, or thinking that maybe someday we will achieve the destiny that You have for us.  Before we know it, days, weeks, months, and then years pass by without us moving forward in accomplishing the work You have ordained for us to do during our time here.  Instead, may we be ever mindful that You have not called us to a life of stagnation, but a life of movement – in Your Spirit, our hand in Yours, one step at a time.

P (Prayer) – Lord, take my hand and never let go – guide my each and every moment.  Help me to be even more intentional with my days, my conversations, my thoughts, my prayers…rid me of complacency when it comes to my knowledge of You.  I want to spend each day pursuing Your heart, not going through the motions of this life.  In the mundane moments of life that tend to be on repeat each day, let my heart and my eyes catch glimpses even then of Your purposes being worked out all around me.  Thank You for always being a God of action and intentionality.

Who Has Known the Mind of the Lord?

S (Scripture) – Romans 11:33-36 “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable are His judgements and unfathomable His ways!  For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor?  Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to Him again?  For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.  To Him be the glory forever.  Amen.” NASB

“Have you ever come on anything quite like this extravant generosity of God, this deep, deep wisdom?  It’s way over our heads.  We’ll never figure it out.  Is there anyone around who can explain God?  Anyone smart enough to tell Him what to do?  Anyone who has done Him such a huge favor that God has to ask his advice?  Everything comes from Him; Everything happens through Him; Everything ends up in Him.  Always glory!  Always praise!  Yes.  Yes.  Yes.”  The Message

O (Observation) – Lord, as humans we like to figure things out; to get to the bottom of a matter; to investigate an issue so thoroughly that no stone is left unturned.  Such is the case with our desire to send rockets into outer space in order to explore the depths of our solar system and capture images of other galaxies in our universe.  Such is the case with sending ships out on the ocean with equipment designed to reach its depths in order to photograph wildlife mankind has never observed and map out the intricacies of our great planet.  We send explorers into caves, archeologists into ancient sites, scuba divers into sunken ships, and invest billions of dollars in medical research to find solutions to this life’s ailments.  All of that intense searching is for naught if we miss You completely.  You are the One responsible for creating our universe, our planet, our oceans, our countless number of species…yet it seems we would rather explore and understand the created thing rather than the Creator.

A (Application) – In truth, my guess is that some of our world’s smartest minds seek after understanding the world around them because they have given up on trying to fully understand You, Lord.  You are far too deep, complex, unsearchable, and unfathomable…we must learn to walk by faith with You and not by sight.  You are not a controlled experiment, we cannot photograph You, disect You, and we certainly cannot stop You.  We need to be alright with knowing that we will never fully understand You.  We will grow closer and closer to You each moment we continue to crave Your presence, but we will never reach a point where we can feel that we have figured You out completely.  So many brilliant minds that push You away do so for this reason.  Yet, I would say to that person that the one, true God that created everything we see and explore today does in fact care about you deeply, wants to know you completely, and will pursue your heart relentlessly.  Who are we that You should be mindful of us?  In the grand scheme of eternity, we are but a breath – here today, gone tomorrow.  Yet, You formed us in the womb, call us Your masterpieces, and have a plan for our lives that brings others joy and gives You glory.  It’s all about You, all the time.

P (Prayer) – Heavenly Father, all I can think of right now is this song written by Chris Tomlin that speaks of the awe and wonder that can only belong to You.

“Indesribable, uncontainable

You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.

You are amazing God

All powerful, untameable,

Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim

You are amazing God”

You Will Not Be Disappointed

S (Scripture) – Romans 10:8-13 “But what does it say?  ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ – that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that 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; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.  For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.’  For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches or all who call on Him; for ‘Whoever will call on the Name of the Lord will be saved.'”

O (Observation) – Father, the reason why more people choose to walk away from Your generous offer of salvation instead of graciously receive Your gift is because they don’t want anyone or anything to have authority over their thoughts and behaviors.  To confess Jesus as Lord and to honestly believe He was raised from the dead should lead us to a place where we take ourselves off of the throne of our lives and instead place You there.  It may seem counterintuitive for us to sacrifice our own desires and instead pursue Someone that most of the world is still arguing about whether or not exists.  You challenge this notion with Your promise that “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.”  Oh, Lord, how I can vouch for that.

A (Application) – Disappointment is defined as “sad or displeased because someone or something has failed to fulfill one’s hopes or expectations.”  Father, we have all had people in our lives who have disappointed us.  People that we felt should act a certain way (e.g. parents, spouses, children, siblings, co-workers, neighbors) based on the role they played in our lives that just absolutely failed to even come close to the expectations that we set for them.  The disappointment we experience from that massive letdown leads to anger.  The anger then invites the cousins of bitterness and resentment over to take root.  Before we know it, we are being held hostage by these silent emotions that rob us of our joy and prevent us from experiencing all You have for us.  But You – there is none like You.  We can trust You with absolutely everything – our entire being.  We may not understand all of the circumstances in our lives, but ultimately, You will never disappoint us.  C.S. Lewis once said, “We badly need a word for ‘the-exact-opposite-of-disappointment.’ Appointment won’t do.”  There is no word to accurately convey Your ability to abundantly exceed our expectations.  If we truly believed that that is the kind of God You are, how would we live our lives differently today?

P (Prayer) – Lord, help me to be constantly reminded that the expectations I set for other people in my life will most likely only lead to disappointment.  It’s so hard for me to lower expectations and settle for mediocrity; what happens is that my constant disappointment changes my heart to see only the faults in others and their constant shortcomings rather than share my love for them with them.  I do not want to be that person.  Help me to love others well, whether or not they disappoint me.  Thank You for this wild adventure of love and destiny that we are on together.

Flowing Steadily from His Initiative

S (Scripture) – Romans 9:10-11 “And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works, but because of Him who calls…” NASB

“And that’s not the only time.  To Rebecca, also, a promise was made that took priority over genetics.  When she became pregnant by our one-of-a-kind ancestor, Isaac, and her babies were still innocent in the womb – incapable of good or bad – she received a special assurance from God.  What God did in this case made it perfectly plain that His purpose is not a hit-or-miss thing dependent on what we do or don’t do, but a sure thing determined by His decision, flowing steadily from His initiative.” The Message

O (Observation) – Lord, You are sovereign, on Your throne, in control, and Your purposes cannot be thwarted.  Nothing takes You by surprise, catches You off guard, or makes You scratch Your head in disbelief.  Nothing happens that has not first gone through Your fingers.  In the midst of Your sovereign rule, You have given us free will and the ability to choose.  No matter what our choices ultimately are, You are able to work together all things to accomplish Your agenda.

A (Application) – While we may not understand how You are able to keep track of so many different circumstances, choices, and personal choices, we can trust that You are always on Your throne.  There is no such thing as luck, happenstance, fate, or coincidence.  Everything is ordained by You.  We can experience a great sense of peace when we understand this.  The flat tire on the way to work, traffic jam when we are late to an interview, denial by the bank for the loan we needed, phone call from a distant contact at just the right time…nothing happens by chance.  If we can learn to see through the lens of Your sovereignty, we will spend less time complaining about our circumstances and instead draw closer to You in them to see what You are up to in them.

P (Prayer) – Lord, it’s hard to trust sometimes when our world seems to be falling apart.  When we lose loved ones, have doors shut on opportunities that we dream for, experience heartache or abuse – it’s hard to find peace in knowing that these types of things were allowed to happen to us.  That’s exactly when we need to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).  Help us in our unbelief.  Help us to not worry, be anxious, or be fearful when we can’t see how all the pieces fit together.  You are God Almighty who declares the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10) and You know exactly how all of this fits together and will ultimately end.  We experience life one day at a time and have to trust You each moment to take us by the hand and walk us to the next moment.  Thank You, Lord, that You have promised to never leave us (Deuteronomy 31:6).

Overwhelmingly Conquer

S (Scripture) – Romans 8:35-38

“Who will separate us from the love of Christ?  Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  Just as it is written, ‘For Your sake we are being put to death all day longWe were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’  But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

O (Observation) – Lord, there are so many things that can happen in this life that will suck the wind right out of the sails of our faith and hope.  The evil in the hearts of those who abuse children, orchestrate human trafficking rings, carry out mass genocide, or premeditate how to destroy another…the tragic accidents that occur resulting in lives cut short…wretched diseases that cause so much suffering and death that tears apart families.  Yet none of it has the last word.  None of it has final authority over us.  You and Your promises cannot be stolen from us.  Despite these painful realities we face in this life, the verse says “IN all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.”  It doesn’t say that we will not encounter peril.  Rather, we are able to stand victoriously above any and all circumstances based on our position in Christ Jesus.

A (Application) – The brokenness of our world and heartache experienced by so many is real.  The suffering this world brings can and does cause depression, helplessness, hopelessness, and emptiness.  For those who have an unshakeable faith in You, we can stand firm in our position of hope based on the assurance You have given us.  It allows us to live with a peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:6-7).  Above all circumstances, our relationship with You is what will remain – You will never leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6).  Your relentless pursuit of our heart is something that causes us to recognize our value in Your eyes, and shifts our focus from the circumstances we face and places our gaze rather on the greatness of Who You are.

P (Prayer) – Precious Jesus, You have won it all for us.  There is no greater victory than what You have already done for us.  May we rest in You and Your promises and not allow the world we live in have the last word.  You are in control.  You are sovereign.  You love us.  You want so desperately for us to know You.  Thank You for moving heaven and earth to reach into the depths of our hearts and call us into fellowship with You.