Come back and view our daily blog during our 40 Days of Partnership begining on Tuesday, January 1, 2019.
The foundation of all relationships is communication. I often say, “If you are not communicating, you are not relating.” God communicates to us via the Word of God. This is why we study the scriptures and hear the preached Word. From the beginning, communication from God to humanity has been a major feature of the divine-human relationship. Genesis 1:28 (NIV) tells us, “God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground."
However, not only does God speak to us. God also gives us the privilege of speaking to Him. This is called prayer. Prayer is communication and communion with God. Prayer is a main ingredient to a victorious life in God. Prayer brings about healing. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
Prayer also destroys the yoke of bondage. Paul (Acts 16:16-40) and Peter (Acts 12:3–19) were both delivered from physical bondage due to prayer. Additionally, prayer breaks the yoke of spiritual bondage. We read in Matthew 17 how Jesus once encounters a man who has a son with an unhealthy spiritual condition that holds him hostage. After Jesus heals the man’s son following his disciples’ failed attempt, He says to them, “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” Today challenge yourself to pray 5 to 10 minutes thrice (three times) before going to bed tonight.
Several religious traditions embrace meditation. A few years ago many persons that were raised Christian became fascinated with Buddhism because of the Buddhist emphasis on meditation. Sometimes the grass looks greener on the other side because we do not take the time to attend to or appreciate our own lawn. Many folks walk away from their Christian upbringing because they do not become aware of all of what Christianity offers and promotes. There is a general lack of ignorance regarding the Christian tradition of meditation. The Bible puts high value on meditation. I Timothy 4:15 says, “Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.” Psalm 63:5 states, “I remember you while upon my bed; I meditate on you during the watches of the night.” Philippians 4:8 says, “ Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Christian meditation is a way to center one’s self. However, when the Christian meditates, we center ourselves through God and in God. As suggested in a previous lesson, Isaiah 26:3 says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee.” Try meditation today and in the days to come.
One of the major aspects of discipleship is study. Discipleship is following Jesus. From the time of childhood, Jesus was a devoted student (Luke 2:39-52). The Bible also tells us that Paul admonished his son in ministry Timothy by saying, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” George Buttrick used to say, “The Doors of the Church are not so low that one has lose their head to come in.” According to Matthew 22:37, Jesus once said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”
We must study the Word of God. However, in order to be relevant and effective messengers for God, we must study other disciplines and materials. In 1 Corinthians 9 (NIV), the Apostle Paul says, “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”Additionally we are told in 2 Timothy 4:13 (NRSV) that Paul once said, “When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments.” Study is a significant part of our faith tradition. Remember, our churches have often been centers of both religious and academic education. Being a Christians means being student, a reader and a person growing in knowledge.
Here are 10 Books I suggest to you:
By Any Greens Necessary (Trayce McQuirter)
Up From Slavery (Booker T. Washington)
The Souls of Black Folks (W.E.B. DuBois)
Powernomics (Claude Anderson)
Celebration of Discipline (Richard Foster)
Experiencing God (Henry Blackaby)
The New Jim Crow (Michelle Alexander)
God of the Oppressed (James Cone)
Parting the Waters (Taylor Branch)
Becoming (Michelle Obama)
Between the World and Me (Ta-Nehisi Coates)
Jesus and the Disinherited (Howard Thurman)
In addition to being people of caring, God has called us to be people of sharing. This is about stewardship. We know that all we have comes from God, and that we are just caretakers of His blessings. We faithfully bring our tithes and offerings to God. We consistently give God our time and talents (gifts and abilities). We share our blessings, skills, and resources with each other as well as our community and world. As the scriptures teach us in Galatians 6:10 , we do good unto all people and especially, unto those of the Household of Faith.
How do you know a Nike is a Nike? You know it by the check or symbol on the shoe. Stewardship, sharing with God and others, is one of the symbols or signs of God upon our lives as Christians. It is one of the main aspects of Christian living that makes us holy. Holy means set apart. What do you notice about your life today? Are you living holy? Living your best life as a follower of Jesus means living a holy life, and being holy calls us to a life of giving! The more you give the more God gives to you! However, the best giving is giving directed guided by God and His Word! Purpose in your heart today that you will be a tither and one who regularly offers to God. Then see where you can bless others through your finances, resources and skills as God guides you.
As people of God, we are people of worship. Psalm 95:6 tells us, “O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker.” Who our God, the Lord, is provides us many reasons to worship Him and Him alone. The Lord is our Maker and thus, we must bow down before Him. The Lord God is also faithful when we are often unfaithful. Consequently, we should do our best to faithfully serve Him by attending Sunday worship services, prayer gatherings and Bible studies, Sunday school, special worship services, and fellowship events that bring us together as His people to glorify and magnify Him. We as God’s people abide by Hebrews 10:25, “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” However, not only should we practice corporate worship, but as individuals we should be persons of worship. The Bible says in Hebrews 12:1 (NIV) tells us, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” In view of God’s mercy towards us, daily we should offer our bodies as living sacrifices.
Today, challenge yourself to spend 15 minutes with God worshipping Him through prayer, praise, song, or listening to praise music. You can do it throughout the day by giving God 5 minutes on three separate occasions or you give God a whole 15 minutes of uninterrupted worship. Do this today and try to make it your daily habit from here on! When God is your focus of worship, there no room for satan or anyone else to try to sit on the throne of your heart. Satan once said to Jesus, “All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me” (Matt. 4:9)
One of the greatest ways to live your best life in 2019 is to be a person of influence for God. God is calling us to go and lead others to Him by way of His Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ (Matt. 28:18-20) Have you accepted the responsibility to be one of His leaders in the world? He called us the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world” (Matt. 5:13-14) Our charge is to be His flavor unit. We are commissioned to bring His flavor to the world and to shine and point the way towards Him! I have found that people of influence are often people of affluence. If you have the courage to bless someone’s life for God, God will bless your life. Today try to your best to say something or do some act that will influence 3 persons for God before the end of this day! Pray now that God will be with you as you lead for Him! Say, “Father, think with my mind, speak with tongue, move with my body as I seek to act to lead three people to a relationship with You today! In Jesus’s name, Amen!”
The Bible tells us in Luke 2 that Jesus grew in wisdom and stature. Hebrews 5:8 states, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience…” If Jesus learned, in 2019, you and I must keep learning in order to partner with God. Laziness and an unwillingness to grow is incompatible with who Jesus is as well as the persons He has called us to be. As a Family of God, we are a church committed to learning of our God and His ways. Additionally, we are committed to applying what we learn. We know that we have to study to show ourselves approved as workers of God who rightfully divide the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). We know that God is depending on us to go and share His Word, and we know that we cannot share His Word if we do not know His Word. We know that spiritual immaturity is not an option for us. Therefore, today we heed the call of discipleship. Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 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.”
You can rest in Him if you are willing to learn of Him. What are you doing to make sure that you are really growing? How are you moving to make sure you know more this year than you did last year? Are you in a class? Do you need to buy a study Bible? Do you need to try to commit to memory one scripture per week? Let’s do it in 2019!
God has called us as people of God to walk in the spirit of caring. Caring is about relationship. As God cares for us, we should care for one another and always seek to treat each other how God would have us to. As a Family of God, we should display compassion and concern for one another and operate in a spirit of lovingkindness towards one another. We should assume our roles as ministers to one to another and not allow any of us to walk alone. John Donne said, “No person is an island unto themselves.” We all need each other. Philippians 2:4 (NIV) says, “not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” New studies now detail how social isolation is contributing to mental health challenges for individuals. Caring for others can not only cause those you bless to remain strong but can cause you to remain strong! At this moment, ask God to show you someone you can display care for and make certain you reach out to them today. Pray for that person right now and then call or seek to make a visit them. Another option is to go by a shelter or nursing home today or within the next day to display care.
Perhaps you have already experienced a setback in 2019 and are in need of a reset. Sometimes God will give you an upset to press reset in your life. Have you ever noticed the word upset turned around? Sometimes your upset is really a set up from the get up. It is really what God is doing to flip script to get you back on track with Him. When you keep going through the same certain things, don't ignore what is happening. But hear God talking, see God moving to bring you back to partnership, back to purpose, back to assignment and and back to divine alignment with Him. The Book of Jonah teaches us that even if God has to use a storm in life to get our attention and to help us press reset, God will! Today, don’t remain upset! Press Reset!
A thought occurred to me this week and that thought was where would the Church in America be if we had kept producing Martin Luther King Jrs? Where would we be even in next 30 yrs if we started now to produce en masse Dr Martin King Jrs? Of course, no one can be a carbon copy of another. Consequently, I am not suggesting that the church produce exact replicas of Dr King. However, I am indicating that it would be nice for the Church to producing people who have the courage to act as Dr. King acted in the face of injustice. Some say the Church is losing its place in society today. I believe that if the church produced people that do more than talk but move, that perspective would not persist in the minds of people. The Bible tells us that Jesus had a threefold ministry in Galilee. It says in Matthew 4:23, “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.” Jesus didn’t just preach to people to give them inspiration. He didn’t just teach people to give them information. But Jesus also healed people to give them alleviation. He acted to make a difference in people’s life circumstances. On this MLK Day, reflect about the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a follower of Jesus. However, also ask God to show you how you can act to make people’s lives better. Perhaps you can join the NAACP today (NAACP.org). Perhaps you can find a way to be a mentor or tutor. Perhaps you can work on a social action initiative or a short-term project at our church or in the community.