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Aim High!

“He did right in the sight of the Lord, yet not like David his father; he did according to all that Joash his father had done. ” 2 Kings 14:3

In some cases, it’s ok to be mediocre. No one can be the best at everything and some things are not important enough to deserve our energy and time.

Other things, however, mean so much that they deserve our utmost.

I speak specifically to your heart toward God. Today’s verse gives a chilling description of the heart of King Amaziah. At first it sounds like he was getting a glowing review: he did right in the sight of God. The description quickly darkens when it says he didn’t do right like his ancestor David, a man after God’s own heart. King Amaziah was satisfied being “good enough”.

Call me an overachiever, but I want to do more than just get by in my walk with God. I want to be a woman after God’s own heart. I don’t want there to be any area of my life that I am satisfied with the bronze or tin when the gold of knowing God deeper is available by His grace.

How about you?

When we start talking about being pleasing to God, the mind automatically looks at the mountain of times we failed before, but that’s not where we should focus. We must focus on the power God offers to help us persevere and overcome. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

It begins with repentance and surrender. Are there morals you have let slip? Have you given up striving to hear Him say, “well done” because it seems nobody else is trying? The benefits of following hard after God far outweigh the “pleasures” of mediocrity. (1 Corinthians 2:9-10)

The cross was God’s way of reaching low to save us. Our best response is to aim high in pleasing Him.

He Has a Plan for the Unplanned

The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid….” Psalm 118:6

Your life may look nothing like you thought it would. Whether due to unexpected current events, a health diagnosis, financial fiasco, or any number of other happenings, you can know one thing: God has a plan for you in your unplanned season. Because God is all-knowing, the gasp of surprise never fills His lungs, if you will. As such, He has a roadmap for you to follow in this uncharted land of the unexpected. He has had it ready since before you were born. Instead of wringing your hands or cursing the changes, why not scoot closer and ask what He would have you do? Let the peace of knowing your unplanned has pre-planned instructions sink in. You are in good hands, My Friend. Your Heavenly Father has everything under control and, like any good daddy would, He will give whatever you need to get to the other side of this unexpected experience.

You Can Get There From Here

“I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27

Hard situations have a way of blindfolding you to hope. The darkness can loom so thickly that doubt tries to claim squatter’s rights it never dared in the light. Backpedaling on the solid ground of your faith, your unbelief pushes you to the edge and you plunge headlong into despair. Even then, God’s great hand can rescue you. Even then, He knows a way out. He is the One Who makes a road in the wilderness, creates rivers in a wasteland, and springs roots out of dry ground! (Isaiah 43:19). Nothing is impossible with Him, including whatever situation you are facing. Remind yourself of Who God is, My Friend. Renew your mind through His Word, share your struggles with those who have seen God do the impossible. You will discover anew that you can get where you need to be from the impossible place you are now.

The Right Delivery

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” 1 Peter 3:15

We who are followers of Christ have the very words of life. When sharing those words, we must be careful that they flow from our mouths with a tone that reflects the love of their original Author. Truth shared with a condescending undertone might as well be muted, because they hit the hearer like daggers. Yes, the truth can hurt but not because we dipped it in the poison of sarcasm or harshness. Our motivation must be to help those caught up in sin to see that God offers a better way. We must seek to lead them gently and with respect, otherwise we risk provoking them to stay where they are because our demeaning attitude distracted from the very truth we are proclaiming.

Let us ask the Lord today as we deliver His message to those who have strayed that He to grant us the respect that should accompany it.

Like It Or Not

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

People in your circle of influence are drawing conclusions about Jesus based on what they see in you. If you know yourself at all, such a statement should strike alarm in your heart but not if it strengthens your human resolve to do better. A wiser response is to recognize anew your utter dependence on the Lord to live His life through you. Decrease your striving just to look right on the outside; increase your cry to Him to change you from the inside. Of course you and I will never get it right all of the time; failure is a part of growth. Regular exposure to God’s Word, constant communion through prayer, and fellowship with other lovers of Christ are important cars we dare not unhitch on the train to Christ-likeness. Never forget, however, that Christ in you is the Engine supplying the power to live the life that attracts others to Jesus by your example.

More Than You Realize

” And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.” Matthew 10:42

We often think we make the biggest impact when we do big things for God. The more the sacrifice, energy, or expense, the greater the influence, right? Heaven may reveal a different story. Though the flow of good from a large venture can, should, and does yield a flood of praiseworthy results, small but significant acts have the power to do even more. For example, a meal served with a side of eye-to-eye conversation and a heaping helping of “you-are-worth-slowing-down-for” time is better than any store-bought gift. The way we talk to people different from ourselves in color speaks volumes to young eyes and a momentary example can yield a lifetime of imitation. A kindness extended can funnel hope into a heart scorched by injustice, causing a recalculation that everybody who looks like you is against them. A trickle of smiles and courtesies can cut a canyon of confidence in those prone to lack it. The God Who birthed a nation from a barren woman and her elderly husband also changes the world through little things you do everyday. Invite Him to have His way in you today; you will find Him working and using you in more ways than you realize.

Love Your Corner

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Romans 12:9-11

Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by all of the happenings in the world these days? Does it sometimes feel impossible for significant change to come? Everything seems to be impossible when you look at it in light of your own limitations. God warned you that these days would come. With so much going wrong so quickly, you may be tempted to think there is nothing you can do. Not so! You are a part of the body of Christ! God has gifted you to be part of the solution in your corner of the planet to the people within your reach who need love, a listening ear, and a willingness to gain insight into what they think and feel. In other words, love!

The enemy of your soul desires for you to bunker into self preservation, but you possess everything you need to minister to those on your watch (2 Peter 1:3). Resist the urge to make it complicated! Let His Spirit be your guide, and with a prayer always on the tip of your tongue, step out and let God use you in any way He desires. Loving others is always the next right thing to do. You will be amazed at what He can do through you in your crazy, hungry-for-hope corner of the world.