Category Archives: Devotional

3 Keys to Remember when Others Judge you

Have you been unfairly judged by others, or maybe even yourself? Here are 3 points to remember.

It was time to choose a new leader. The current king’s reign was coming to an end, so Samuel was sent to Bethlehem to anoint a new king. This was a secret mission since Saul was still on the throne, so Samuel was to anoint the future king at a private event.

Jesse’s family was invited to the dinner. As the family entered, Samuel took one look at Eliab, and thought, “Surely this is the next king. His credentials say he’s qualified.” The Lord told Samuel it wasn’t Eliab, nor was it any of Jesse’s sons who were at the dinner.

Samuel discovered the one the Lord had in mind was not even at the dinner. He was still in the field tending the sheep; he was the youngest, and no one even considered it important for him to be at the dinner. He had to stay behind caring for the sheep.

They sent for the young man, and when he arrived, Samuel was instructed to rise and anoint him. For he would become the next king of Israel.

Substitute a few details, and we see this scene played out in modern times. Resumes and credentials are heavily weighed, while character is a secondary consideration.

We naturally want to place a higher value on things we can see rather than things we cannot see. We value credentials, appearance, and accomplishments because we can see them, but a person’s heart may be a little harder to see so we don’t spend as much time there. The Bible tells us there is a better way; in fact, we are taking an upside-down approach.

1 Samuel 16:7 says, “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Don’t judge by his appearance or height. For I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

The Bible suggests we put the heart first in our evaluation of others. Unfortunately, we live in an imperfect world in which this does not always happen. You and I may be evaluated unfairly; we may even judge ourselves unfairly. When this happens, here are 3 points of encouragement to remember.

1. God sees your heart.

God knows you and me. The Lord knows us better than anyone else, and he sees what is genuinely in our hearts.

  • 1 Samuel 16:7 says, “The Lord looks at the heart.”
  • “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards according to what their actions deserve,” says the Lord in Jeremiah 17:9-10.
  • 1 Chronicles 28:9 advises, “…learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the Lord sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him, but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.”

God knows our ideas and motives. He knows what drives us. When others negatively judge us for making decisions, the Lord knows why we made those decisions. The Lord knows our hearts, and he does not judge unfairly. He is fair and just in all he does.

2. God sees our potential.

No one thought David would be the next king. He was not even at the dinner. The family left him behind to care for the sheep. Samuel, Jesse, or no one else realized David’s potential. I wonder if David even realized his own potential. Perhaps the only one who knew what was possible was God.

We have a tendency not to recognize our own abilities. We want to go after that goal, but we don’t think we have what it takes.

You and I desire to accomplish goals, yet we say to ourselves, “I can’t.” We do not recognize our own potential.

God knows our potential though, and if he’s put the goal in our heart, we can trust him to get us there. No one realize David’s potency until he beat Goliath. No one may recognize our potential until you and I accomplish a goal. When you judge yourself unfairly, remember God does not judge unfairly. He is fair and just in all he does.

3. God will prepare you for the next stage.

For the most part, I don’t like clichés, but this one fits. God does not call the equipped; he equips the called. You and I are qualified for the first stage of a project; however, we look down the road four or five stages and convince ourselves we are not qualified, so we do not allow ourselves to act.

We are not the only ones who have ever struggled here. Moses and Jeremiah did, and the Lord responded by saying, “I will give you the qualifications.”

  • In Exodus 4:10-12, “Moses pleaded with the Lord, ‘O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been and I’m not now even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue tied and my words get tangled.’ Then the Lord asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go. I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct in what to say.”
  • Jeremiah 1:6-8 says, “O Sovereign Lord,’ I said, “I can’t speak for you. I’m too young.’ The Lord replied, ‘Don’t say I’m too young for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you and don’t be afraid of the people. For I will be with you and protect you, I, the Lord, have spoken.”

God qualified Moses and Jeremiah, and he will qualify you and I for what he has called us to do.

Many stages of education and training are required to be a doctor, but if God has called you to be a doctor, he’ll get you through the stages. It takes several steps to be a teacher, but if the Lord has given you the desire to teach, he’ll guide you in taking those steps. God qualifies us so we can be in the place he wants us. When you are unfairly told you’ll never be able to accomplish your goal, remember God does not judge unfairly. He is fair and just in all he does.

Acting

What desire has the Lord given you? Make a list of steps you can take toward accomplishing your goal. Start taking those steps, and remember as you go, while the world may judge unfairly, the Lord does not judge unfairly. He sees your heart, knows your potential, and will guide you through the stages to your goal. God is fair and just in all he does.

Know a friend who may benefit from this post? Please share it with him or her.

 

 

Remember These 3 Keys When Overwhelmed

Feeling overwhelmed? These 3 keys can help.

The situation seemed grim. There was no where to turn. The Israelites found themselves sandwiched between the Red Sea and the Egyptian army. How could they possibly get out of this situation? They were overwhelmed, and the Bible uses this event to help us navigate overwhelming circumstances.

Overwhelmed? You are not alone. A study revealed 74% of respondents were overwhelmed to the point of not being able to cope. To go with these 3 suggestions to get through overwhelming circumstances, here are 3 keys to remember.

Moses offered these keys to Israel as they were leaving Egypt. God directed Moses to lead the people on a less traveled path out of Egypt, so they find themselves at the shore of the Red Sea with the Egyptians hot on their trail. The Israelites surveyed the situation and panicked.

“But Moses told the people, ‘Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm,” states Exodus 14:13-14.

In his statement, Moses gives us 3 keys to remember in overwhelming circumstances.

1. Stay Calm

“Just stay calm,” Moses advises. Stay calm is a message we receive a lot. In emergency training, we are instructed to stay calm. Flight attendants tell us if something happens in flight to remain calm.

I don’t know about you, but I find this hard to do. Our natural reaction in overpowering events is to panic and run. We immediately jump to the worst-case scenario. We’re not going to make it. We’re not going to survive; there is no way this plane is capable of landing in this condition. But, remain calm is the advice we are given.

Captain Sully did. It should have been a peaceful Thursday afternoon flight from New York to Seattle, but less then 5 miles from the airport, the Airbus A320-214 struck a flock of Canadian geese causing dual engine failure. Captain Sully and his copilot, Jeffrey Skiles, remained calm and attempted to return to LaGuardia Airport. It became clear the plane could not make it back to the airport, so the decision was made to land in the Hudson River. The ditching was successful. The 155 souls aboard the flight were able to be rescued by nearby boats. Lives were spared and disaster was averted because of the calmness of Sullenberger and Skiles.

The pilots were in an overwhelming situation, but calmness helped them remember which switches to flip and levers to pull to successfully put the aircraft on the river. Staying calm in life’s storms allows you and me to think clearly; it allows us to respond to the situation rather than react to it. Rather than panic, we should stay calm and allow the Lord to take our hand.

2. Stand Where You Are

“Stand where you are,” Moses tells the Israelites. “Don’t try to run. Just stand where you are and let the Lord work.” This may be one of the hardest points to remember in an overwhelming situation. Our natural reaction is to panic and run; run away as fast as we can from whatever is overpowering us. You and I try to convince ourselves if we run away from the problem, it will leave us alone. Sometimes, this is a great battle strategy. We run from the problem and it disappears.

However, there are other times when running does not work. The situation puts us in the shoes of the Israelites. The Red Sea is in front, and the Egyptian army is behind. We have nowhere to go; no escape route to follow. This is the moment when we need to stand where we are and let the Lord work, and he will.

David stood where he was, and the Lord worked. David found himself standing on the battlefield with the Israelite army. They were overwhelmed by Goliath. Goliath was around 9-foot-tall, and he was a master soldier who had never been beaten. Israel’s fighting men believed Goliath would overpower them, so when he appeared on the battlefield, they would run in retreat. But David offered to stand and fight.

King Saul tried to talk David out of fighting. David could not be convinced. You see, David had been in some tough spots before and the Lord helped him, so David had faith the Lord would help him on this occasion.

“The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine,” David exclaimed in 1 Samuel 17:37.

David prepared to fight and went out to meet Goliath. The giant taunted David, “There is absolutely no way you will beat me!” It does not look good for David in this moment. Goliath is 9-foot-tall, wearing armor, and has someone carrying a shield in front of him. David, on the other hand, has no armor, no one is carrying a shield, and his only weapon is a sling shot and some rocks. Though it doesn’t look good for David, he knows the Lord will work.

David responded to Goliath’s taunting by telling him the battle was the Lord’s. David stood where he was, and the Lord worked. The Lord overpowered an overwhelming situation for David.

You may have no where to go or no escape route to follow right now. Remember, stand where you are and let the Lord work.

3. The Lord Will Guide You

The Lord guided Israel on the exodus from Egypt. He fought for them and when they were standing between the Egyptians and the Red Sea, the Lord guided them in a way no one could have imagined. The Lord divided the water so the people could walk through on dry ground. Amid overwhelming circumstances, Israel was guided by the Lord.

He will guide us in these times as well.

  • Psalm 48:14 says, “For that is what God is like. He is our God forever and ever, and he will guide us until we die.”
  • Isaiah 30:21 says, “Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, ‘This is the way you should go,’ whether to the right or to the left.”
  • “I will lead blind Israel down a new path, guiding them along an unfamiliar way. I will brighten the darkness before them and smooth out the road ahead of them. Yes, I will indeed do these things. I will not forsake them,” the Lord says in Isaiah 42:16.

I think it is safe to say sometime in life you and I will be overwhelmed. When it happens, stay calm, stand where you are, and let the Lord guide you.

Acting

Ask the Lord to help you remember these keys when you are feeling overwhelmed.

Do you have another key for handling overwhelming circumstances? Please share in the comments.

Please share this post with friends who may find it helpful.

 

Love is Hard

Did the Bible have to say this?

We watch the news, read the newspapers, and follow social media, and every day we are frustrated at all the hatred in the world. If everyone would just get along, how much better would the world be?

“But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you; pray for those who hurt you,” Jesus says in Luke 6:27-28.

I like this statement. Don’t you?

I like this statement until I realize Jesus is not just talking to everyone else. He is talking to me also. Love your enemies. Did God really have to put that in the Bible?

God put this statement in the Bible, so the answer is yes, it must be in there.

Stop and think for a moment. How much better would the world be if everyone had sacrificial love for one another? Bullies would not exist. Teamwork would increase in the workplace; backstabbing would stop. Groups with opposing views would compromise rather than sitting in their corners hating each other. The landscape would change drastically.

How to love your enemy?

Here’s how the Bible suggests living out this statement.

Luke 6:31 says, “Do to others as you would like them to do to you.”

This is the Golden Rule. If we do not want others to be rude to us, why are we rude to them. If we dislike bullying, why do we bully others. We don’t like backstabbers in our office, so why do we participate? We should treat others the way we desire to be treated.

Acting

How well do you live out the Golden Rule? If you are like me, there’s room for improvement, so set a goal to take a small step toward improvement each day. For example, set your daily goal not to be rude to a cashier no matter how you are treated in line.

Please share this post with your friends who would find it encouraging.

 

Do you have true love?

Love is more than we realize. Here are true love’s characteristics.

The couple had been married for 5 decades. He suffered from dementia, and her strength was fading, but day after day she cared for his needs. She was not compelled to care for his needs by romance, but sacrificial love compelled her.

Love is more than a deep romantic attraction to someone. While there is a place for such feelings as romance and attraction, The Bible encourages us to reach higher in love to obtain sacrificial love for one another.

It is sacrificial love which compels a wife who has been married for 50 years to care for her husband. It is sacrificial love which sends a husband married for decades to visit his wife in the nursing home every day. It is this love which allows a parent to forfeit sleep to care for an ill child. So, what are the characteristics of this love?

The Love Chapter of the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13, tells us. We also find a challenge in this chapter. To fully obtain the character described in this chapter is a growing process. I know I have more growing to do. How do you measure up?

Characteristics of Love

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 says love is…

Love is patient and kind.

A man was lonely, so he decided to get a pet. He did not want to get just any pet. He wanted a unique pet, so he purchased a Centipede. The pet store put the animal in a box and the man returned to his apartment.

That evening, he decided to go out on the town, so he invited the Centipede along. The man opened the box and said, “Centipede, would you like to go out this evening?”

A couple seconds later, the man asked again, “Would you like to go out on the town tonight?”

Hearing no answer, the man thought maybe the Centipede had trouble hearing, so he shouted, “Centipede, do you want to go out tonight?”

A little voice came from the box, “I’ve already said yes! Be patient with me! I’m putting on my shoes!”

Patience can be hard. We live in a world in which everything is a web search away. We want what we want when we want it, but sacrificial love learns to be patient.

Love is not jealous, boastful, proud, or rude.

Love is not irritable.

“By now he had learned enough to know that when he was getting annoyed at somebody else it was usually because there was something that he himself should be doing and he wasn’t doing it,” says Lev Grossman.

Love keeps no record of being wrong.

  1. S. Lewis comments, “Everyone believes forgiveness is a grand idea until he or she has something to forgive.” Forgiveness is hard but necessary for sacrificial love.

Love does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices when the truth wins out.

Love never gives up, never looses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

God is love.

1 John 4:8 says, “God is love,” so if God is love, here are God’s characteristics.

God is patient and kind. God is not jealous, boastful, proud, or rude. God is not irritable and keeps no record of being wrong. God does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices when the truth wins out. God never gives up, never looses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

How do you measure up?

1 John 4:9-12 says, “God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God but if we love each other God lives in us and his love is brought to full expression in us.”

How do you measure up? Put yourself in the list of characteristics above. Can you say, “I am patient and kind. I am not jealous,”

I need to grow. How did you do? Are there characteristics in which you lack?

Acting

Make a mental note of the characteristics in which you fall short. Ask the Lord to help you grow in those areas.

Have a friend who might benefit from this post? Please share it.

 

3 Suggestions for Coping with Overwhelming Circumstances

74% of respondents reported being overwhelmed and unable to cope. Here are 3 suggestions.

The wind whipped sea tossed the boat as the fierce winds swirled around them. The sky was completely blackened by the thick storm clouds, and the fishermen were overwhelmed by the storm. What should have been a quick and smooth trip across the sea was taking all night and the water was rough. The fishermen were straining at the ores trying to get through the storm, and as each minute passed, the feeling of being overwhelmed increased.

Can you relate? Maybe not to being in a boat amid a storm, but to feeling overwhelmed by circumstances surrounding you. According to a 2018 mental health survey, 74% of respondents reported being so overwhelmed by stress they were unable to cope. So, you are not alone.

According to the study, there were many factors contributing to individuals feeling overwhelmed. Factors included a person’s own, or loved ones, long-term health condition, debt, feeling like messages required an instant response, and younger adults reported being overwhelmed by the pressure to succeed. Comparing oneself to others and low self-esteem were also mentioned as factors.

It may be one of these factors or another causing you to feel overwhelmed, so here are 3 suggestions to keep in mind when feeling overwhelmed.

1. We should focus on the Lord.

Jesus’ disciples can relate to feeling overwhelmed. Matthew 14 records the disciples being in a fierce storm. They had been trying to cross the sea all night, but the boat was buffeted by the waves. Walking on the water, Jesus comes to them, and gives Peter a chance to show us what to do and what not to do in overwhelming circumstances.

Matthew 14:28-30 tells us, “Lord, if it’s you,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to you on the water.’ ‘Come,’ he said. Then Peter got out of the boat, walked on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink cried out, ‘Lord, save me!”

Peter was in an overwhelming storm, yet he walked on water if he focused on Jesus. It is when he shifted his gaze from Jesus to the waves he began to sink. Focusing on the Lord equals walking on the water; focusing on the waves equals sinking.

When you and I are in overwhelming circumstances, we should focus on the Lord. When we feel we don’t measure up to others, we should remember the Lord loves us, and we are fearfully and wonderfully made. When we feel the pressure to succeed, we should remember what success looks like in the Lord’s eyes. When we are feeling overwhelmed, we should focus on the Lord.

It is when you and I lose focus on the Lord we are overwhelmed by circumstances the Lord can overtake.

2. The Lord will grab hold of us.

Peter is sinking, and cries out, “Lord, save me!” The Lord, in turn, grabs hold of Peter.

“Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him…,” says Matthew 14:32.

Jesus grabbed hold of Peter to help him get back in the boat. Jesus will grab hold and help us in overwhelming circumstances.

He grabs hold of us when we believe all options are exhausted and we have no where to turn. He will take our hand and guide us in life’s storms. He grabs us when financial security is gone, physical health is fading, and we are forced into the storm of change.

Who better than Jesus to grab hold of us? In this storm, which is overpowering the disciples, Jesus is taking a walk on the water. In this storm, which is consuming the disciple’s strength, Jesus is about to pass them.

Mark 6:48 says, “Shortly before dawn he went out to them walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them….”

Circumstances we find overwhelming the Lord finds underwhelming. Situations overpowering us don’t even cause the Lord to flinch. When we are consumed by the storm, the Lord is taking a walk. The Lord will grab hold of you and I in overwhelming circumstances.

3. The storm doesn’t last forever.

Peter and his companions were only in the storm for one night. It did not last forever; however, in the middle of the storm, they probably thought it would never end. The disciples would have been exhausted. Hours spent straining at the ores, trying to keep the boat going in the right direction. The elements were physically and mentally demanding, so I’m sure they were tired.

The circumstances which overwhelm you and me will not last forever; however, when they are occurring, it seems like they will never end. We are exhausted. The doctor doesn’t know what to try next. We rearrange our rearrangement of the budget, but we still do not have enough money to pay the bills. We know the situation won’t last forever, but when will it end?

Matthew says the storm ended when Jesus and Peter returned to the boat, and John offers a deeper perspective.

John 6:21 says, “Then they were willing to take him into the boat and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.”

John says the boat reached the shore immediately. For Peter, the darkest, most frightening part of the storm was the last part of the storm. He was closer to shore than he realized. Perhaps the same is true for us.

We may be closer to the end of an overwhelming circumstance than we realize. We may be nearing the end. If nothing else, you and I can honestly say we are one day closer to the end. We are one day closer to the end than we were yesterday.

Meanwhile, the overpowering situation is still swirling around us, and Jesus makes the same statement to us he made to the disciples.

Jesus says, “Take courage. It is I. Don’t be afraid,” in Matthew 14:27.

Focus on the Lord. Allow him to grab hold of you and walk with you through the overwhelming season of life. This is not the first time he’s faced overwhelming odds.

This is not the first time the Lord has faced overwhelming odds.

The same day Jesus walked on the water he was faced with the overwhelming challenge of feeding 15,000 to 20,000 people with two fish and a few loaves of bread. The disciples had no idea how to feed that many people with so few supplies, but Jesus did. The Gospel writers tell us there was plenty to eat. Jesus beat overwhelming odds.

Some time after walking on water Jesus was placed in a tomb. The disciples were overwhelmed with sorrow thinking this was the end. But Jesus came out of the tomb leaving it empty. Jesus was not overpowered by death. He knew how to beat it.

Your life may be overwhelming right now. You may be facing circumstances in which you have no idea what to do. The Lord does. “Take courage,” Jesus says, “I am here.”

Acting

Ask the Lord to help you go through the overwhelming circumstances of life.

What suggestions do you have for someone feeling overwhelmed? Please share in the comments below.

Please share this post with anyone you believe would find it helpful.

 

Our Work Matters

Colleen was a college student who was working a part-time job to cover bills. Not having a lot of money, Colleen tried to get by on what she had. Her shoes were showing age, but she planned to wear them if they held up.

One morning after church, a lady handed Colleen a box containing a new pair of shoes. “Here you go. I thought we probably wore the same size.” The lady said, “I can’t do much, but I thought I’d buy you a pair of shoes.”

Grateful for the shoes, Colleen replied, “Thank you.”

“Don’t worry about it,” came the answer, “it takes a village to get us through life.”

The shoes were a small thing, but they made a big difference for Colleen. The lady’s act of service was not headline grabbing, but it was meaningful.

Our acts of service matter; our work matters. We may not be the CEO in our company or be in the spotlight at our church, but our contribution is important. The CEO is efficient because of her Administrative Assistant. The leader in the spotlight would fail quickly if not for the team around him. Each person’s role is crucial to success.

Our contribution is valuable.

The Bible says we have something to contribute.

Romans 12:6-8 says, “In his grace God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well, so if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak up with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well; if you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously, and if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.”

You and I are part of a community, and our role is just as important as the other roles. We rely on one another, and our interdependence is not a weakness; it is a strength.

To help us understand this, the Bible uses the illustration of the human body. Is the body made of only feet? Can the hand do the job of the eye? No, the body is made of several parts. Each part must do its job for the body to function. The parts work together making the body strong and sustaining its survival.

Our roles are the same. We must each do our role for the community to function. Some roles are in the spotlight, while others are behind the scenes. Some roles encompass many responsibilities, while others embrace only a couple. However, each role is equally important.

We matter at church and at work.

This principle holds true at church and work.

At Church

You may be responsible for teaching a class attended by a handful of kids, but your contribution is still meaningful.

You may be responsible for running the vacuum each week. It may not seem like a big deal, but it’s your contribution keeping the building clean.

You may be the person who arrives early, unlocks the door, turns on the lights, and makes the coffee. It may not seem like much to you, but without you, people would have to break in the building, walk around in the dark, and remain half asleep.

Our contribution to the church matters.

At Work

The Theology of Work project brings to light this principle is the same at work as it is at church. For success, the work team must function as a unit.

Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord….”

The work we do at our job matters. Our contribution is vital to our workplace’s success.

If you stock shelves, stock shelves well. If you answer the phone, answer the phone well. If you tighten bolts, tighten them well. The work you and I do is significant in the overall health of the company.

Think of it this way. An auto factory worker is tasked with tightening lug nuts. He falls for the lie his job doesn’t matter, so he stops making sure the nuts are tight. A truck is delivered with loose lug nuts, and the wheel falls off while it is being driven down the interstate.

The accident causes consumers to question the auto makers safety. In turn, causing sales to slump, the slow sales cause lay offs at the factory. All the trouble started because the factory worker fell for the lie his work did not matter.

The assembly line worker is just as important as the CEO. The custodian is just as important as the CFO. No matter what we do, our work is meaningful.

Please do not fall for the lie your contribution is insignificant and your life does not matter. You do matter, and you do have something to contribute.

Acting

Ask the Lord to help you recognize the meaningfulness of your contribution and opportunities to contribute.

Know a friend who would find this post helpful? Please share it with him or her.

 

A Single Choice Changed Everything

Her life was anything but a dream. Disrespect and endangerment occurring daily. Different men, perhaps more than one a day, stopping by to take advantage of her. Each day a different scene of a continual nightmare, but one day, everything changed. She made a choice which changed everything.

Choices have the power to chart the course of our lives, and the choices you and I make are significant because we are significant. We matter to the Lord, so the choices we make matter to the Lord.

One choice has the potential to change everything. One choice has the potential to influence lives for multiple generations. Choosing to influence one person’s life can have lasting impacts.

The Impact of One Choice

Rahab made one choice which changed the direction of her life and influenced the world in a positive way.

Joshua 2 tells us Rahab lived in the city of Jericho, and her life was anything but a dream. Israel sent two spies to Jericho and they sought lodging at Rahab’s home so they would not stick out as strangers in town.

Rahab heard of the Lord’s power and requested protection when Israel conquered the city. She helped the spies secretly leave town, and they promised protection to her and anyone within the walls of her home.

Jericho was conquered, and the one choice Rahab made to help the spies…

Saved her life.

The spies kept their word, and no one within the walls of Rahab’s home was injured during the conquest.

Changed her life.

Rahab was able to live with Israel.

Joshua 6:25 says, “Joshua saved Rahab, her family, and all those who were with her. Joshua let them live because Rahab helped the spies Joshua had sent off to Jericho. Rahab still lives among the Israelites today.”

Had a lasting impact.

Since Rahab lived among the people of Israel, she became the great, great grandmother of King David.

According to Matthew 1:5-6, “Salmon was the father of Boaz, his mother was Rahab. Boaz was the father of Obed; his mother was Ruth. Obed was the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of King David.”

Rahab’s choice had a lasting impact. Being in the lineage of King David means Rahab is in the lineage of Jesus. The Lord used Rahab as a part of his plan to bring grace to the world.

All because Rahab made one choice.

Our Choices Matter

You and I can make some powerful choices. The Lord may be compelling us to start a friendship. Choose to start it. We may feel led to tip generously. Choose to be generous. Our choices are impactful.

The next choice we make may be the one that leaves a positive influence on lives for generations.

Acting

Choose to follow the Lord’s leading in your decision making. Pray for courage so fear and uncertainty do not stop you from making the right choice.

Please share this post with everyone you believe would find it encouraging and helpful.

 

Small ButPotent

Is my influence large enough? Do I reach enough people to really make a difference? These are questions that come to mind as we struggle in our search for significance. This may be especially true in an era of Facebook and Instagram influencers with millions of followers. You look at their accounts and they have millions of followers, but your account does not. I look at their pictures and they have thousands of likes, but my pictures do not. So, we begin to doubt the importance of our influence.

We begin to wonder if we even matter, and ask, “Why do we even bother?” The Bible tells us we do matter. You and I may not be the Billy Graham of our era, but our influence is impactful.

A few will reach millions of people, some will reach thousands of people, but most of us will only reach a few people. Perhaps just one person, but our influence is still meaningful.

A Premium on One

The Bible places a high premium on reaching one person. Glimpse through Luke 15 and we see a high premium placed on reaching one person.

Seeking Out One

Jesus uses 3 parables in Luke 15 to help us understand the importance of reaching one person

A Lost Sheep

A shepherd had 100 sheep and 1 went missing. The shepherd leaves 99 of the sheep to seek out the one who is in danger. He celebrates when he finds the 1 sheep. If the sheep wasn’t important, he would have left it to stay with the other 99.

A Lost Coin

A widow loses a coin in her home, so she moves everything out and sweeps the house until she finds the coin. When she finds the coin, she celebrates. If the coin was not valuable, she would have not risked moving her possessions into the elements of the outdoors to find the coin.

A Lost Son

A father believes his son is never going to be back in his life, but when the boy returns, the father celebrates. He has a grand celebration because his son has come home. If his son was not significant, he would have not celebrated.

Rejoicing Over One

Luke 15 tells us each time one is found there is rejoicing.

  • Verse 7: “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in Heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”
  • Verse 10: “In the same way I tell you there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
  • Verse 32: “But we had to celebrate and be glad because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again. He was lost and is found.”

Reaching just one person is important. Reaching one individual is significant. A small influence is still potent.

A Rock in a Lake

The significance of our influence is like throwing a rock in a lake. The rock hits the water sending out a wave. The first wave sends out a second wave. The second wave sends out a third wave and so on. Each circular wave grows. Each wave is larger than the previous. The wave action starts when the rock hits the water. Our influence is the rock starting the wave affect.

Jesus started with 12.

The Bible reminds us Jesus did not start with millions of followers. He started with only 12. His influence launched from there. The original 12 may have each only reached 12 people and so on. It did not take long until Jesus’ influence was huge.

Most of us will reach a few people and our influence will go out from there. We have a significant place in the Lord’s plan. Reaching a few is as important to the Lord as reaching millions. The Lord has put you and I in a place which matters to him. Our influence has significance.

Acting

With whom do you have an influence? Ask the Lord to help you seize opportunities you have to influence the people around you.

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Do I matter?

Do I matter? This is a question you and I often ask, and the answer is yes, we do matter.

Significance is something we all search for. Not necessarily to always be in the spotlight as that may not be our place or personality, but to know our life matters. We desire to know our work matters. We like to know the choices we make have an impact. We want to know the act of service we offer is needed. Everyone needs to know his or her life is important and making a difference.

Unfortunately, we live in an imperfect world filled with jobs that treat us as disposable, institutions who say our contribution doesn’t matter, and bullies who treat us horribly. All causing us to struggle on our search for significance.

The Bible offers encouragement as we are on our significance search. You and I are reminded we are significant in the Lord’s eyes.

You are significant in the Lord’s eyes.

We are already significant in the Lord’s eyes. We have always been significant in the Lord’s sight.

  • “For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful. I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be,” Psalm 139:13-16 says.
  • Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s handy work, created in Christ Jesus, to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

The Search is Over

Our search for significance can be over. We can find our significance in the Lord.

To the employer who treats us as disposable, the Lord says he is wrong.

To a board of directors who say we have nothing to contribute, the Lord says they are wrong.

To the bullies who point and laugh, the Lord says they are wrong.

We do matter. The choices we make matter. The lives we touch matter. The acts of service we offer matter. Our lives are significant. Our significance is found in the Lord.

Acting

Try memorizing the above Scriptures so the next time you are treated insignificantly, you can remind yourself the Lord says you are significant.

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Unashamed & Persistent

The preacher thought she was drunk and scolded her for showing up at church under the influence of wine. Hannah quickly explained she wasn’t drunk. She was just that involved in her prayer. She said she was pouring her heart out to the Lord.

You and I have wants and needs. We struggle with the challenges of life. How well do we pray about those needs, wants, and challenges? Embarrassment or fear may stop us from praying, but the Bible reminds us there is no need to be embarrassed or afraid when talking with our Heavenly Father. We can be unashamed and persistent.

An Illustration

Talking about prayer, Jesus tells the story of a man who had an unexpected guest in the middle of the night. He runs to his refrigerator and its empty. He checks the pantry and only finds dust on a shelf. He has no food to offer his guest, so he runs to the neighbor’s house.

He wakes the neighbor at midnight by banging on the door. “Give me some food,” he says. “I’ve had an unexpected guest and have nothing to offer.” The man inside yells back, “Go away!”

But he keeps banging and banging until the man gets up and gives him what he needs for his guest.

Be Unashamed and Persistent

Jesus says in Luke 11:8, “But I tell you this, though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.”

You and I can be unashamed and persistent in our prayers.

Unashamed

The foodless man in Jesus’ story is unashamed to announce his problem. He has no shame in telling his neighbor what he needs. Nothing is hidden. The man lays everything before his neighbor in a shameless way.

Do you approach prayer in a shameless way? Do you lay everything before the Lord?

This can be hard at times. When we do something good, we have no problem talking with the Lord about it, but when we make mistakes, we’d rather not discuss those with our dad.

Talking about imperfections is hard. No one wants to admit he was a jerk. No one wants to admit she was cranky, but the Lord already knows. He knows you and I are not perfect, and he wants to help us grow.

“Dear friends, now we are children of God. We have not yet been shown what we will be in the future, but we know that when Christ comes again, we will be like him,” 1 John 3:2 reminds us.

Nothing is hidden from the Lord. Since he knows everything, you and I have nothing to hide. We can be unashamed in prayer. We can be honest with our feelings and ask the Lord to help us in every situation. Prayer is a safe place. Our Heavenly Dad desires to hear from us and will not be upset if we are unashamed in our conversation.

Persistent

The foodless man did not accept no as an answer. His neighbor told him to go away, but he continued to knock until the man answered his request. His persistence paid off. He received food for his guest.

“Keep praying,” Jesus encourages.

“So, I tell you continue to ask, and God will give to you. Continue to search and you will find. Continue to knock and the door will open for you. Yes, whoever continues to ask will receive. Whoever continues to look will find, and whoever continues to knock will have the door opened for them,” encourages Luke 11:9-10.

Don’t give up. Our Dad answers prayer in his timing.

Hannah was unashamed and persistent.

Hannah was so emotionally involved in her prayer she was accused of being drunk. 1 Samuel 1 records Hannah having a rough time in life. She was not afraid to talk with the Lord about her problem. She became so physically involved in her prayer it was thought she was under the influence. When questioned, Hannah explained, “I’m pouring my heart out before the Lord.”

Hannah was shameless and persistent in her prayer. How well do we pour our hearts out before the Lord? We do not have to be embarrassed or fearful before our dad in Heaven.

Our intimate conversations with him can be private. In fact, Jesus encourages us to pray in the closet. Pouring our hearts out before God can be a freeing, but vulnerable, experience, so we can do it in a private setting.

Acting

Are you angry? Tell the Lord.

Are you struggling? Tell the Lord.

Are you embarrassed by something in your life? Tell the Lord.

Anything else? Shamelessly tell the Lord. Persist in prayer.

The lyrics of an old hymn say, “What a friend we have in Jesus. What a privilege to carry everything to him in prayer.”

Want an Additional Resource?

Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer by Max Lucado is a great resource on prayer.