God Time

Monday, January 25

Gratitude

Spend five minutes focusing on a couple of things you appreciate and thank God for them.

Word

Mark 12:28 (MEV)

One of the scribes came and heard them reasoning together. Perceiving that Jesus had answered them well, he asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?”

Connect

Not everyone is against Jesus

With all the negativity toward Jesus by the Jewish establishment recorded in the Bible, you would think that Jesus is universally opposed. But, this is not true. Not all of the Jewish leaders rejected the teachings of Jesus. This became such an issue that we hear phrases like this, “Yet many of the rulers also believed in Him. But because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they be put out of the synagogue.” (John 12:42)

Obviously, some of Jesus’ fellow Jews are persuaded by his message and all the earliest Christians are Jewish. They think of Jesus as fulfilling the law and the prophets.

Me

What is one reason you can think of why a Jewish person today might not try to explore Christianity? What is one counter-thought concerning that reason?

Tuesday, January 26

Gratitude

Spend five minutes focusing on a couple of things you appreciate and thank God for them.

Word

Deuteronomy 6:4-6

Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God. The Lord is one! And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be in your heart.

Connect

Our thinking comes out of our experience

When Jesus replies to the request for the greatest commandment, he quotes Deuteronomy 6:4-6, but adds, “…with all your mind.” We can’t read his mind, but we can establish reasons why he may have said it this way.

Out of all the parts of who we are, our thinking is the filter for how we respond. If we don’t think deeply and explore from other perspectives we are left with our default mode which is,  “I am the center of the universe, and therefore I must be right.” Perhaps Jesus is getting at the core of so many problems in our lives by stressing the mind.

Me

Think about a time when you were absolutely sure about something that you later found out was absolutely wrong. What did you do as a result?

Wednesday, January 27

Gratitude

Spend five minutes focusing on a couple of things you appreciate and thank God for them.

Word

Leviticus 19:18

You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

Connect

Your neighbor is anyone

This directive from Leviticus is a huge step in the history of humankind. Revenge is one of the driving forces of all human history. Yet, over 3,000 years ago, a small band of people were directed not to get even within their tribe. Not to bear a grudge.

Then Jesus comes along and blows this huge step out of the water.

He speaks of neighbor in a different way in the story of the Good Samaritan. Your neighbor is anyone, even your worst enemy.

Work for the good of my enemy? Who could do that? No one, that’s why Jesus does it through us.

Me

When you feel like striking back at someone this week, either by reacting or thinking negatively about them, pause ten seconds and visualize Jesus on the cross. Imagine his lips whispering these words, “Father forgive them…”

Thursday, January 28

Gratitude

Spend five minutes focusing on a couple of things you appreciate and thank God for them.

Word

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think on these things.

Connect

Voluntary joy-led activity is the life of Jesus

There is a lot of confusion over the other part of the phrase, “love your neighbor as yourself.” What does it mean to love myself? When we think of “love” as “working for the good of within the range of my influence,” that helps. I am working for the good of my life so I may be of service to others in stronger, healthier ways. I am glad to do it.

If I do not have compassion and am not glad to be working for someone else’s good, then I am serving for other reasons. I may want to look good before others. I may feel an obligation. I may think God will reward me. But, service that is not voluntary and joy-led is going to diminish me in the long run. It will wear me out and lose it’s potency.

Me

What is one thing you are doing in your life right now that does not bring you joy, but you do it out of a sense of obligation and/or duty? Can you gain a different perspective that could bring joy? Or can you stop doing it? Work through this.

Friday, January 29

Gratitude

Spend five minutes focusing on a couple of things you appreciate and thank God for them.

Word

Amos 5:21-24

I hate, I despise your festivals,

and I am not pleased by your solemn assemblies.

Though you offer Me burnt offerings or your grain offerings,

I will not accept them,

nor will I regard the offerings of your fattened animals.

Take away from Me the noise of your songs;

I will not listen to the melody of your harps.

But let justice roll down like water,

and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

Connect

Right action is more important than ritual action

Because Jesus set us free, we can be grateful to live our lives as a thank offering to him. It is our worship day to day. We want to follow him and are glad to do it.

The primary way we follow is not going through the motions of Sunday worship, giving offering, Bible study, being in a small group, any of those things. The primary way we love God and neighbor is through the way we live in relationship to others.

Me

The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day. (David Foster Wallace)

Today with every mundane task you do, imagine Jesus is right next to you watching. How does that make things different?

Leave a comment

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *