Monday

Three Warnings

Luke 9:57-62, Jesus asked him to follow, men say they will follow Jesus
In Luke 9:57-62, three men considered following Jesus. We read their words, but Jesus read their hearts. 

1. “I will follow you wherever you go.”


This man's words were good, but Jesus reminded him to count the cost (Luke 14:25-34).
 
Jesus doesn't ask everyone to leave home and family, but following Jesus means denying our selfish goals in life (Matthew 16:24). 


2. “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”


Jesus knew that this man wasn't simply asking to bury his father, he was focusing on "dead" worldly desires. Scripture is clear - we can't pursue worldly goals and still follow Christ (1 John 2:15-17).

3. “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”


Jesus sensed this man's hesitance to follow and reminded him that half-hearted, lukewarm faith was unacceptable (Revelation 3:14-22).

I confess I sometimes have these attitudes toward my faith, but I commit (with God's help) to overcome them. Will you join me? 
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Would you like to read the entire conversation between Jesus and these men and do a short Bible study on this devotion? Then check out today's Bite Size Bible Study.


Luke 9:57-62, Jesus asked him to follow, men say they will follow Jesus
Image backgrounds: Billy Frank Alexander

Friday

Do the "Impossible"

Love your enemy, do good to those who hurt you
God asks the "impossible" - calling us beyond ourselves and our strength to actions that require His strength. 

Look at the "impossible" commands in Romans 12:14-21:
  • Bless those who persecute you.
  • Do not repay anyone evil for evil.
  • If your enemy is hungry, feed him...
  • Overcome evil with good.
Has someone hurt you deeply? Has someone lied about you or caused you loss? Has someone purposely benefited from your misfortune?

Take time today to bless that person. 

It's always appropriate to bless them by praying for them. 

Sometimes God may ask us to do more - helping with a need or doing an act of kindness.

We answer to a higher power and He gives us strength to overcome evil with good. We may never overcome the evil in our enemy's heart, but we can surely overcome the evil feelings we have for him in our own heart.

Thursday

Aggressive Renewal

Romans 12:1-2, 2 Cor. 10:5, Phil. 4:8
The renewal process that begins when we follow Christ is a process that continues daily. 

If we aren't renewing our minds, we're conforming to the influences of the world around us.

Renewal is as an aggressive, proactive process--demolishing and taking captive:

"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." 2 Corinthians 10:5

To renew our minds we must concentrate on things that are "excellent and praiseworthy" (Philippians 4:8) creating a Biblical world view. It's not simply putting a positive spin on life; it's putting a godly spin on life.

Beliefs firmly rooted and nurtured in our minds affect our lifestyle and give us a deeper discernment of God's "good, pleasing and perfect will." (Romans 12:2).

How are you renewing your mind today?

Wednesday

5 Requirements of Prayer

5 Requirements for Effective Prayer, praying with faith, praying God's wil
Prayer is both simple and complex. 

1. It requires faith:
Matthew 21:22: "If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."

2. It's requires being right with God:
John 15:7: "If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you."

3. It requires right motives:
James 4:3: When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

4. It requires a clean conscience:
1 John 3:21-22: Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.

5. Perhaps the best summary of prayer is 1 John 5:14-15:
"Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us."

What a wonderful privilege to take our concerns to the Lord.

praying with faith, praying God's will
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All Scripture references NIV unless otherwise noted.