Have You Tasted Transformational Grace?

I was shown mercy… the grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly. – 1 Timothy 1:13-14
Devotionals Daily

Space for Transformational Grace
by Scot McKnight, A Fellowship of Differents

The Man not only despised Christians, he sought to eliminate them. He began with threatening emails to some Christians he knew; then, under a bogus name, he opened a website where he pumped out vicious accusations and fierce warnings. Some in the community begged Christian family members to abandon their faith and the church.

The Man occasionally beat up a Christian or two when he knew no one was watching, but he also knew the authorities would not come to their aid if they noticed his abuse. His religiously informed and passionate pleadings with the police coaxed the powers to his side. The police began their surveillance, and some devout believers were brought in for questionings and threatened with danger to their families and life imprisonment or worse.

Some Christians were tortured, and rumors began to circulate that a young Christian leader had been killed to set an example. Fear struck the Christian communities, and their fear fed The Man’s fury into further abuse.

No, The Man is not a modern day Muslim.

No, The Man is not a terrorist.

No, The Man is not an Iron Curtain Lenin or Stalin.

No, The Man is not an Idi Amin, or a Robert Mugabe, or an apartheid supporter, or a secretive sleuth or drug lord.

That Man is the apostle Paul, and I simply updated him to illustrate how persecution occurs in our world today.

Paul was Enemy #1 to the first Jewish Christian community’s faith. They all agreed Paul was an enemy of God, of Christ, of the Spirit, of the Christians.

But God drew That Man away from persecuting zeal into the church. Paul’s zeal for the Torah became a zeal for the Messiah. That transformation is grace.

Maybe you’ve not read Paul’s story enough to know the details, but Paul once left Jerusalem under orders from Caiaphas, the high priest, to arrest Christians. He was successfully carrying out those orders when God stepped into his life and transformed him. Remarkably, Paul returned to Jerusalem three years later as a defector from his former rabbi’s ways and as a convert to Jesus’ ways. Ever wonder what Caiaphas or Paul’s famous majordomo rabbi, Gamaliel, thought of their former comrade and student who was now a follower of Jesus? How did those in Paul’s former circles describe what had happened to him? That didn’t matter to Paul, who was so overwhelmed by God’s grace; he no longer cared what they thought.

Paul knew he was in a place called grace.

Grace is the opening word that tumbles out of Paul’s mouth.
Grace is more than being lucky to be on God’s side.
Grace is God’s goodness showered on people who have failed.
Grace is God’s love on those who think they are unlovable.
Grace is God knowing what we are designed to be.
Grace is God believing in us when we have given up.
Grace is someone at the end of their rope finding new strength.

But there’s more to grace. Grace is both a place and a power.

Grace is God unleashing His transforming power.
Grace realigns and reroutes a life and a community.
Grace is when you turn your worst enemy into your best friend.
Grace takes people as they are and makes them what they can be.
Grace ennobles; grace empowers.
Grace forgives; grace frees.
Grace transcends, and grace transforms.

Grace is God’s love on those who think they are unlovable

Grace turns a Christian-baiting, Torah-loving Pharisee such as the apostle Paul into a Christian-loving, Christ-following apostle.

One of my favorite lines in the whole Bible is found at the end of the first chapter of Galatians:

The man [Paul] who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy. – Galatians 1:23

Grace turns persecutors into preachers.

Lord Jesus

Thank you for your life-transforming grace.        I would be lost without you. Help me to offer this grace to others and watch you transform them through me. I am your vessel. Cleanse me and make me whole as I grow up in you.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

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God’s Grace Comes After You!

God’s grace hugged the stink out of the  prodigal, scared the hate out of Paul, and pledges to do the same and us.           It comes after you. It rewires you. It takes you from insecure to God secure. God’s grace is life transforming! Read on as Max Lucado reminds us we are God’s Masterpiece.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. — Galatians 2:20
You Are God’s Masterpiece

by Max Lucado, Grace Happens Here

To see sin without grace is despair.

To see grace without sin is arrogance.

To see them in tandem is conversion.

God sees you in a masterpiece about to happen

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. — Galatians 2:20

Christ is on the move, aggressively budging you from graceless to grace-shaped living. The gift-given giving gifts.

God sees in you a masterpiece about to happen.

He will do with you what Vik Muniz did with the garbage pickers of Gramacho. Jardim Gramacho is the largest landfill in the world, the Godzilla of garbage dumps. What Rio de Janeiro discards, Gramacho takes.

And what Gramacho takes, catadores scavenge. About three thousand garbage pickers scrape a living out of the rubbish, salvaging two hundred tons of recyclable scraps daily. They trail the never-ending convoy of trucks, trudging up the mountains of garbage and sliding down the other side, snagging scraps along the way. Plastic bottles, tubes, wires, and paper are sorted and sold to wholesalers who stand on the edge of the dump.

Across the bay the Christ the Redeemer statue extends his arms toward Rio’s South Zone and its million-dollar beachfront apartments. Tourists flock there; no one comes to Gramacho. No one except Vik Muniz.

This Brazilian-born artist convinced five garbage workers to pose for individual portraits. Suelem, an eighteen-year-old mother of two, has worked the garbage since the age of seven. Isis is a recovering alcoholic and drug addict. Zumbi reads every book he finds in the trash. Irma cooks discarded produce in a large pot over an open fire and sells it. Tiao has organized the workers into an association.

Muniz took photos of their faces, then enlarged the images to the size of a basketball court. He and the five catadores outlined the facial features with trash. Bottle tops became eyebrows. Cardboard boxes became chin lines. Rubber tires overlaid shadows. Images gradually emerged from the trash. Muniz climbed onto a thirty-foot-tall platform and took new photos.

The result? The second-most-popular art exhibit in Brazilian history, exceeded only by the works of Picasso. Muniz donated the profits to the local garbage pickers’ association. You might say he treated Gramacho with grace.

Grace does this. God does this. Grace is God walking into your world with a sparkle in His eye and an offer that’s hard to resist. “Sit still for a bit. I can do wonders with this mess of yours.” Believe this promise. Trust it. Cling like a barnacle to every hope and covenant.

Grace hugged the stink out of the prodigal and scared the hate out of Paul and pledges to do the same in us.

Grace comes after you.

It rewires you.

From insecure to God secure.

From regret-riddled to better-because-of-it.

From afraid-to-die to ready-to-fly.

I — yes, I alone — will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again. — Isaiah 43:25

Excerpted with permission from the Grace Happens Here by Max Lucado, copyright Thomas Nelson.

* * *

Your Turn

It’s so easy to feel like the mess you’re in — the “garbage” you grew up in, or painful marriage that’s slowly crumbling, the anger that demolished dear friendships, the job loss and financial fear, the church split that broke so many hearts, the suffering you’re enduring — can never be touched by grace, and can never be made beautiful. Today, soak in God’s promise to do just that — to make what’s painful and wrecked beautiful for His glory!

Is God asking you to wait?

Is God asking you to wait? Join the great cloud of witnesses who went before us. They too were often faced with seasons of waiting. Usually after a promise from God comes a delay. Ugh….right!

In Habakkuk 2: God says; “these things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly,steadily,surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled.”

We don’t like to wait and we often want to know when! But while we wait God is working on our character, using the obstacles in our lives as a predictable pattern designed to grow us spiritually.

Noah waited 120 years from the time he was told to build the ark before the flood came.

Abraham was told he would be the father of many nations and waited until he was 99 to have his first child.

God told Moses he was making him a great leader to deliver the people to freedom and out of slavery, and he waited 40 years in the desert.

Joseph had a dream and God promised him he would be a great ruler. Before he was ready he spent years in the pit, slavery, and prison.

His timing is perfect. He often lets problems seem like impossibilities. But delays never destroy His purpose. There is a big difference between “no” and “not yet”.

So we’re learning to wait and often through difficulties where circumstances scream against our hopes and dreams, and critics steal joy.

Hold on friends,God our good and faithful Father is proving our faith, teaching us to trust Him, and building our character.

Read on as Rick Warren shares his heart in a devotional message.

Rick Warren — Apr 27, 2015

“Pause a moment, Job, and listen; consider the wonderful things God does.” (Job 37:14 GNT)

You have to be quiet in order to hear God speak. If you want to hear God’s vision, then you’re going to have to turn off the television. You can’t listen to God and the TV at the same time!

The reason why God may never speak to you could be because you’re never quiet. Something is always going on in your mind, so while God is trying to get through to you on the telephone of life, he’s getting a busy signal. You’ve got to reserve time alone with God.

The Bible says in Job 37:14, “Pause a moment, Job, and listen; consider the wonderful things God does” (GNT).

God wants to spend time with you. He says, “Pause, be quiet, get alone, and learn solitude so I can talk with you.”

Sometimes as adults we get spiritual wiggles. We cannot get still and be quiet.

Is getting God’s dream for your life worth a day of your life? Have you ever taken an entire day and done nothing but be alone with God? Talk to God in prayer. Let God talk to you through the Bible. Relax. Think. Write down the thoughts he puts in your mind. Set some goals. Look through your schedule. Set your priorities. Spend the day saying, “God, where do you want me to go? What direction do you want my feet headed?”

God speaks to people who take the time to listen — not just for a day, but also on a regular basis. This is called a quiet time.

You think you don’t have time for this? We’re talking about figuring out why you’re here on Earth, so you’ve got to make the time.

Talk It Over

Do you want to hear God speak to you? What are you willing to do about it?
Think about your quiet time. How much time do you spend actually being quiet and waiting on God to speak to you?
What are the distractions you need to eliminate so that you can be still and quiet?

You Are Not Alone in your Seasons of Grief.

Lord thank you for being our ever present help in times of trouble, especially during times of loss and grief that can be so lonely and isolating. Help us not to deny ourselves the process of grieving, because it’s painful and we are so use to medicating pain in our society, rather than honoring it. Help us remember if we want to be truly whole, we need to trust you and cry out to you for the reassurance we need to be comforted by your love,so we can have hope, healing and a future.

Be with those we love who are grieving Lord. Grieving not just the loss of loved ones through illness, divorce, or death, but also the private losses that involve hurts, and betrayals, that many do not see, or chose to invalidate, because of their involvement in the circumstances.

May we choose to keep loving your people and not harden our hearts. May we not buy into the lie that we can love you, but hate or be indifferent to others. May our seasons of grief take us to new levels of surrendering our lives to you, that lead to a greater capacity to love others. In Jesus Name. Amen

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD. — Psalm 31:24
Season of Grief, Journey of Faith by Bill Dunn and Kathy Leonard,

But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. — Isaiah 40:31

Grief is not an enemy or a sign of weakness. It is a sign of being human.

Grief is the cost of loving someone.

Since grief comes to everyone, why do some people seem to work through it better than others?

“Some people think that going through the losses or crises of life are the exceptional times,” says Dr. H. Norman Wright.

“I see it differently. I see the times of calm as the exceptions. Life really is going through one loss after another, one crisis after another. Instead of avoiding talking about these times, let’s do our homework. When you know what to expect, you’re not thrown by them as much, and you’re going to be better able to recover.”

Lord God, teach me to embrace my grief and not fight it, so that I may experience the true healing that comes from You.

Grief Is a Unique Experience

O LORD, You have examined my heart and know everything about me… Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex… You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in Your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. — Psalm 139:1,14,16 (NLT)

You may feel it is useless to talk about your grief because no one truly understands what you are going through.

“You sometimes feel after an experience like this that you’re talking a foreign language,” says Dora, whose daughter died. “You feel like there’s no way anybody can know what you’re feeling. There is absolutely no way anyone can know the depth of your pain. So you feel like it’s futile to talk about it because words can’t express the pain.”

Although countless people have experienced grief before you, each person’s response to grief is different. Your path of grief will be uniquely your own.

Be encouraged that regardless of how your grief appears to you or others, it has a precious uniqueness to the One who created you.

God, who knows intimately your personality, your relationships, and the experiences of your life, knows your grief and isn’t shocked or surprised by your responses.

Father, thank You that my way of grieving is distinctly my own, reflective of all You have sovereignly created me to be and experience.

Grief Runs Deep: Where Is the Hope?

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD. — Psalm 31:24

Dr. Joseph Stowell says, “Even though your heart is breaking and tears are clouding your eyes and staining your cheeks, God does give us something worth trusting in tough times. And that’s Him, and Him alone.”

When your heart is breaking, you can place your hope and trust in the Lord.

Anne Graham Lotz defines hope: “Biblical hope is absolute confidence in something you haven’t seen or received yet, but you’re absolutely confident that whatever God has said is going to come to pass.”

She also declares that “Jesus is your hope for the future. One day Jesus Christ will come back, and He will set all of the wrong right. Good will triumph over the bad. Love will triumph over hate. Righteousness will triumph over evil. He’s going to make it all right, and you can have absolute confidence that that’s going to take place. That’s your hope.”

Sovereign God, I choose hope. I choose faith. I choose life. Give me an unshakable faith in You.

Grief Lasts Longer Than Expected

Grief’s unexpected turns will throw you again and again. You may feel that for every step forward, you take at least one step back.

The grieving process generally takes longer than you ever imagined. Please don’t rush this process. Remember, what you are feeling is not only normal, it is necessary.

“It’s been seven years, and I’m still going through it,” says Dr. Larry Crabb, whose brother died in a plane crash. “I don’t know if it’s a very holy thing to admit, but when someone says, ‘Well, it’s been a week, a month, a year — Larry, for you it’s been seven years. Get a grip. Where’s your faith in Christ, for goodness’ sake?’ I get really angry.

“Knowing the Lord and His comfort does not take away the ache; instead, it supports you in the middle of the ache. Until I get home to heaven, there’s going to be an ache that won’t quit. The grieving process for me is not so much a matter of getting rid of the pain, but not being controlled by the pain.”

We read in the Psalms that David grew weary with the process of grief and cried out to the Lord. Then he left the timing in God’s hands.

Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am faint; O LORD, heal me, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in anguish. How long, O LORD, how long? Turn, O LORD, and deliver me; save me because of Your unfailing love. — Psalm 6:2-4

I am weary with my sighing; Every night I make my bed swim, I dissolve my couch with my tears. My eye has wasted away with grief. — Psalm 6:6-7

Heavenly God, I cannot even begin to put my grief in a time frame. Thank You that I don’t have to. Comfort me and support me as I lean on You.

He will carry you

He Will Carry You

Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. — Psalm 61:1-3

The Lord will carry you if you ask Him. When you are feeling so weak you cannot take another step, ask Him to lift you high into His loving arms. Then rest in Him with an open and listening heart. This does not mean your problems will disappear, but it does mean you will have Someone to share them with.

“If you are someone who does not know Jesus Christ as your Savior and you have just been widowed or bereaved, you have a tremendous burden,” says Elisabeth Elliot. “You are tired, and it is too big a burden to carry. The Lord says, ‘Come to Me, you who are tired and over-burdened, and I will give you rest.’”

To receive peace and rest in Christ, the instructions are clear. Jesus says, “Come to Me.” You must first approach Him and then talk to Him and quietly listen.

Lord, I come to You. My heart is worn out, and I need You. Take my heavy burden today.

* * *

Your Turn

Are you in a season of grief? Perhaps a long season of grief? Are you leaning on God who understands you and has compassion on you for comfort? Are you taking your shock, pain, anger, and heartbreak to Him? Can we pray for you?

Your Loyalty Will Be a Tested!

Lord Jesus help us to be loyal and faithful to you and to those who trust us. Build within us a drive for integrity and loyalty; an armor that protects us during temptation and directs our thoughts and actions. Make us men and women after your own heart desiring to please you because we love you and we’re so grateful for all you’ve done for us.

in Jesus Name,

Amen

Read on for Rick Warren’s teaching on:

Loyalty Makes You Stand
Out at Work
Doing Business With God
By Rick Warren

“Joseph was a very handsome and well-built young man, and Potiphar’s wife soon began to look at him lustfully. ‘Come and sleep with me,’ she demanded. But Joseph refused. ‘Look,’ he told her. ‘My master trusts me with everything in his entire household …. He has held back nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How could I do such a wicked thing?’” (Genesis 39:6b-9a NLT)

Loyalty is a quality that is in short supply in our society today. Nobody is loyal to anything anymore. There’s no such thing as brand loyalty. And people aren’t loyal to companies or bosses or leaders. They’re loyal to themselves.

It’s an old fashioned quality. But when a person exhibits a rare, old-fashioned quality like loyalty, that person gets promoted. It makes you stand out!

Loyalty is being faithful to your boss and to God when difficulty tests your commitment.

It’s easy to be loyal when everything is going great, but when the ship goes into the storm, that’s when real loyalty comes out. And because God is more interested in your character than your career, your loyalty will be tested. In the middle of those storms, he’s seeing if he can trust you with greater responsibility in Heaven.

Joseph had a really tough test. The Bible says, “Joseph was a very handsome and well-built young man, and Potiphar’s wife soon began to look at him lustfully. ‘Come and sleep with me,’ she demanded. But Joseph refused. ‘Look,’ he told her. ‘My master trusts me with everything in his entire household …. He has held back nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How could I do such a wicked thing?’” (Genesis 39:6b-9a NLT)

Now that’s loyalty! Joseph’s got a beautiful woman throwing herself at him, reassuring him, “You think I’m going to tell my husband? Are you kidding me? Nobody’s going to know. You can have your cake and eat it, too. You can be the master, and we can have a fling. It’ll be great. No harm, no foul!”

I’m sure Potiphar was an imperfect boss, because every boss is imperfect. I’m sure Joseph probably disagreed with his boss a lot of the time, because they were both human. Nobody gets it right all of the time.

But Joseph still turned her down because of loyalty to his boss. He honored the trust that had been placed in him by his master.

God looks at that kind of loyalty and goes, “That’s the kind of person I’m going to promote.”

Don’t you want God to say the same about you?

Are You Likeable?

The Secret to Being a
Likeable Person

By Rick Warren — Apr 22

“Joseph lived in the home of Potiphar, his Egyptian owner. Soon Potiphar realized that the LORD was helping Joseph to be successful in whatever he did. Potiphar liked Joseph and made him his personal assistant.” (Genesis 39:2-4a CEV)

If you want to stand out at work, you need to be likeable. If people don’t like you, they’re not going to trust you, and they certainly won’t promote you.

A lot of people think that likeability is just a matter of personality. You’re either a likable person or you’re not.

But nothing could be further from the truth. Likeability is not personality; it’s character. It’s behavior. It’s how you choose to relate to other people. Likeability is possessing the attractive attitudes — and those are choices — and the relational skills that cause others to want to work with you.

Do you want to be liked by other people? Here’s the big secret: Like them. That’s it. If you like people, guess what? They’re going to like you. If you don’t like people, they’re not going to like you. To be likeable you just have to like people. You have to genuinely enjoy them. You have to choose to be interested in others and think less about yourself.

Joseph is a good example of likeability in Genesis 39:2-4: “Joseph lived in the home of Potiphar, his Egyptian owner. Soon Potiphar realized that the LORD was helping Joseph to be successful in whatever he did. Potiphar liked Joseph and made him his personal assistant” (CEV). Potiphar took a guy who started off as a slave and promoted him to the manager of his household because he noticed he was a good person, and he liked him.

What are the attractive attitudes that make someone likeable? How about humility? Would you rather be around someone who is arrogant or someone who is humble?

How about cheerfulness? Would you rather be around somebody who’s cheerful or grouchy?

How about empathy? When you tell others that you’re not feeling well, would you rather they respond, “That’s too bad” or “I’m really sorry. What’s going on?” When you’re empathetic with someone who is hurting, guess what? You’re likeable. Bosses like people who are empathetic to their stress, who understand, who look at a situation from somebody else’s viewpoint.

When you help somebody else succeed, then you’re going to be likeable. And when you’re likeable, you’re going to go far.

Talk It Over

What kind of character traits does it take to empathize with and encourage people who others consider unlikeable?
How do you want to be perceived by others?
What are some ways you can care for people in your workplace this week?

Series Summary
Message 1: The Purpose of Work
Message 2: The Work God Shaped You to Do
Message 3: Making Wise Decisions at Work
Message 4: Standing Out at Work

PASTOR RICK WARREN

God Will Never Abandon You

As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. — Joshua 1:5
Devotionals Daily

God Will Never Abandon You
by Sarah Young, Jesus Calling

Nothing can separate you from My Love.

Let this divine assurance trickle through your mind and into your heart and soul. Whenever you start to feel fearful or anxious, repeat this unconditional promise:

“Nothing can separate me from Your Love, Jesus.”

I never abandon any of My children…

Most of mankind’s misery stems from feeling unloved. In the midst of adverse circumstances, people tend to feel that love has been with­drawn and they have been forsaken. This feeling of abandonment is often worse than the adversity itself.

Be assured that I never abandon any of My children, not even temporarily.

I will never leave you or forsake you! My Presence watches over you continually.

I have engraved you on the palms of My hands.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. — Romans 8:38-39

No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. — Joshua 1:5

Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls as ever before me. — Isaiah 49:15-16

Excerpted with permission from Jesus Calling

Sarah Young

Healthy Godly Leaders Never Stop Growing!!

Lord open our hearts and minds today to the great plans you have for us, plans for a hope and a future. No matter what we face before us, help us not to bog down in discouragement loading sight of Your goodness. Help us to trust that within every potential road block, is also potential for incredible growth and opportunity. Help us be like Joseph and develop into leaders who learn preserving faith, endurance, trust in your faithfulness, and great skill. As we embrace your great love for us, and all you’ve so graciously done in our lives, help us choose to forgive those who have harmed us with their insecure agenda’s to promote themselves. Remind us that all Godly leaders have been through the process of surviving the pit, being a slave, and becoming a prisoner and bond servant for You, Lord Jesus. You raise us up in Your time, placing us exactly where we’re suppose to be with leadership skills we need. So with grateful hearts we surrender everything were holding on to into your care, as we submitted to the process and transformation of our hearts and character, necessary for the development of great leaders, with great capacity.

in Jesus Name,

Amen

Greater Capacity Means
Greater Responsibility

By Rick Warren

“Potiphar … made Joseph his personal attendant. He put him in charge of his entire household and everything he owned. From the day Joseph was put in charge of his master’s household and property, the LORD began to bless Potiphar’s household for Joseph’s sake.” (Genesis 39:4-5a NLT)

What is your potential for growth?

Are you going to read any books in the next year? Are you going to take any seminars? Are you going to grow? Are you going to develop any skills? Are you going to learn any relationship skills? Or are you just going to be the same 10 years from today as you are right now?

Capacity is your potential for growth. It’s important because people who increase in competence are given greater responsibility in their work.

All leaders are learners. The moment you stop learning, you stop leading. Growing businesses require growing people. The moment you stop growing, the business can’t grow.

There are staff members who have been at Saddleback Church for 30 years or more, and their number one characteristic is the ability to keep growing and learning and not insisting on doing the same thing they’ve always done but instead trying new methods and coming up with new ideas.

This is what happened with Joseph. He grew in capacity by stretching himself and learning and growing. Genesis 39:4-5 says, “Potiphar … made Joseph his personal attendant. He put him in charge of his entire household and everything he owned. From the day Joseph was put in charge of his master’s household and property, the LORD began to bless Potiphar’s household for Joseph’s sake” (NLT).

Is God blessing the business you work for? Is that church, that business, that organization prospering because you’re there? Do you have that kind of capacity?

When Joseph was put in charge, the Lord began to bless Potiphar for Joseph’s sake. “All his household affairs ran smoothly, and his crops and livestock flourished” (Genesis 39:5b). Why? Because Joseph had capacity.

When Joseph was taken to Egypt as a slave, he wasn’t able to handle all that stuff. He had to learn how to manage livestock and a household. He had to learn and grow as he was given more responsibility.

If you stop learning new skills and say, “That’s all I need to know,” you’re limiting your capacity. But if you keep learning, you’ll keep growing, and God will keep blessing.

Talk It Over

What are some practical steps you can take this week to learn a new skill or gain new knowledge about your job or your field of work?
Increasing your capacity often takes initiative and sometimes even sacrifice. Why is it important for an employer to see these traits in your work?
Are you considering a career change because you believe you’ve gone as far as you can go in your present job? Spend some time in prayer, asking God to show you how you can increase your capacity in your work and ways to grow personally and professionally.

What’s the Plan?

“God has a plan full of the kind of freedom, joy, and peace that this world could never give.”

Don’t Give Up!
by Katie Farrell, Devotions for a Healthier You

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. — Galatians 6:9

God has a plan full of the kind of freedom, joy, and peace that this world could never give. However, in this fast-paced society, this plan often takes longer to unfold than most of us would like. This is where patience and endurance come in! Patience is such a vital part of attaining the plan God has for us. Often we can be the reason for the delay in seeing His plan. If we have established bad habits, it can take time for us to learn to allow God to renew our minds and change our actions.

God has a plan…

Before a fitness routine becomes a fixed part of your day, for example, it may take a good amount of time and discipline to wake up early to work out. In fact, at first you will probably find it painful to get rid of some of your old habits and make better choices. The Bible even tells us this will be the case:

No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening — it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. — Hebrews 12:11

If we endure the temporary pain that comes with disciplining ourselves and if we continue to make the right choices, we can be sure that a harvest awaits us that will produce a great peace within.

The next time you are tempted to give up on something, remind yourself of this truth. If you keep doing the good things God has set before you, then you will reap a wonderful harvest.

Lord, when I am feeling discouraged, please help me keep doing the good things you set before me with patient endurance. I know that if I don’t give up, then I will receive the wonderful things You have planned for me. Help me be renewed with Your strength and patience today

In Jesus’ name, amen.

Prayer: Lord Jesus  I trust  that you have great plans for me even if I can’t see them. I know that You long for nothing more then for me to seek You with all my heart, knowing when I seek You, I will find You, when You are all I need, and I am totally surrendered.

Transform my heart and life to desire what matters to You, as Your plans for me are revealed.

In Jesus Name, Amen

You are Shaped for a Life Mission

You Are Shaped for a Life Mission
By Rick Warren — Apr 13,2015

“I have formed these people for myself.

They will praise me.” (Isaiah 43:21 GW)

You are commissioned for a life mission!

The Bible says in Isaiah 49:5, “And now the LORD speaks — the one who formed me in my mother’s womb to be his servant, who commissioned me” (NLT)

Your shape — your spiritual gifts, heart, abilities, personality, and experiences — equip you for your life mission and your life message.

What is your life mission? It’s your life’s work. It’s what God created you to do on this planet. The body of your life work is your life mission.

What is your life message? It’s what God wants to say to the world through you. It’s unique. It’s your message from your life to the world.

I can’t give your life message, because I’m not you. You can’t give my life message, because you’re not me. You can only give your life message, and I can only give mine. If you don’t give your life message to the world, it doesn’t get heard.

When an artist accepts a commission, he makes a commitment to complete a certain task. You have been commissioned by God to fulfill your mission and your message in the world. God has shaped you and given you the exact tools and traits that you need to complete your task, and when you use them to complete your mission, it pleases God.

Isaiah 43:21 says, “I have formed these people for myself. They will praise me” (GW).

How do you do that? How do you broadcast God’s praises with your life? By being who God made you to be.

When you use the gifts and abilities and personality and passion and experiences that God gave you that make you you, that brings glory to God.

Talk It Over

How has God shaped you? What is it about your spiritual gifts, heart, abilities, personality, and experiences that make you uniquely you?
In what ways are you using your shape in your work? What about in ministry? In your home?
Do you think God expects you to know everything about your life mission and message? Why or why not?

Prayer: Lord Jesus it is our desire to serve you and bring glory and honor to you through our life purpose and calling. Strengthen this calling in each of our lives as we embrace our gifts, talents, personality, and experiences, and trust your will shaping our lives.

In Jesus Name, Amen