Monday, July 9
17 They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” 18 And he said, “Bring them here to me.”
The difference between lack and abundance is what you choose to do with what you have. The life of a true believer is predicated on Kingdom principles, not earthly circumstances. It is impossible to experience Heaven by employing earthly methodology. When you choose to operate using Kingdom tools and principles, Kingdom results will be inevitable. The disciples learned this as they were being overwhelmed by the task Jesus had put before them. When Jesus told the disciples to feed the hungry masses in front of them He didn’t expect them to do it with what they currently had, He was putting them in a place of dependency on Him. They had no choice but to place the little they had in His hands, and they quickly found out that anything Jesus was given control would be blessed. What is your hungry mass today? What impossible odds are staring you in the face? Whatever it is, place the concern of it in His hands and allow Him to do with it as He chooses. He will bring Kingdom possibility into your earthly circumstance.
Tuesday, July 10
11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.
One of the common misconceptions in the Church today is that it’s the job of the ‘full-time’ ministers to do the work of the Gospel. This mindset has made Christianity more of a spectator event as opposed to a participatory lifestyle. When it comes to taking care of a family who may have lost a loved one or has suffered from illness or an unexpected emergency, most believers sit back and do nothing. You’ll hear them say, “That’s the pastor’s job, that’s why we pay him/her.” Unfortunately, because of this, true Christianity does resemble what God intended for it to look like. If you’ll take a close look at today’s scripture text, you’ll see that there is a place for the ministry gifts but those gifts are there to equip the church, not do the work for them. In a football game, if you saw the coaches out on the field playing the game, making the players sit on the sideline and watch, you would undoubtedly ask why the coach wasn’t doing their job, correct? Why then is it that the ministry staff of the local church is expected to do the work while the congregation sits on the sideline? People leave the church daily because they feel unfulfilled and unneeded and it all boils down to the fact that they are not being put in the game. Ask yourself this question. What does my ministry look like? If you don’t know the answer, it’s time to get in the game. Be a player, not just a spectator.
Wednesday, July 11
Having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.
It doesn’t take a lot of looking around to see that there is a severe lack of hope in the world today. For that matter, unfortunately, you could say the same about the church. This lack of hope, is a direct result of darkened hearts. There is a severe need for the people of God to receive the enlightenment that comes from a working relationship with their Father. If you don’t truly know Him then you can’t expect to know the hope that comes with that relationship. Those who claim to be Christians should be the most hopeful people on earth because they’re the most enlightened people on earth. They are enlightened by the relationship they are in with their Creator. They have hope because they know that their eternity is secure in Him. Whatever difficulties or circumstances they may presently be walking through pale in comparison to the hope that have in the One who redeemed their souls. What does your hope level look like? Are you in a place of joy and peace because your hope rests in the love of your Father? Or are you in need of re-establishing who you are in Him because your outlook on life has been bleak as of late? Wherever it stands right now, you can further establish that hope by allowing Him to enlighten you by speaking into your life.
Thursday, July 12
He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed.
Those who consider God to be hard and cruel have not allowed Him to reveal Himself to them in the way He wants to. You hear it all the time… “God made me sick to punish me”, or “God took my loved one”. Those who have this view of God have never taken the time to develop a relationship with Him. When you spend time in His presence learning to hear His voice and know His thoughts toward you, you’ll find that the things that He asks of you are always for your benefit. You’ll understand that when things go wrong it wasn’t His doing, it was more than likely something you did to step out from under His protection. It’s not in His character to punish you, He sent Jesus to take that for you. He wants you to experience His grace and mercy every day of your life. It’s only when you fall out of relationship with Him that you begin to see Him as cruel and distant. When you give Him the opportunity, He is quick to pour His love and joy out upon your life.
Friday, July 13
And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”
Upon reading today’s scripture reference, you will find that Jesus method of reaching those around Him contrasts greatly with the way the church today tries to reach people. It’s important to notice that Jesus didn’t just look for those who already seemed to have things in order, or those who had a strong working knowledge of the scriptures. He wasn’t concerned with their current occupation or social status, rather, He was seeking those who displayed the greatest need and who weren’t very high up on the social ladder. He wasn’t concerned with who they were presently, He wanted those who needed a place to belong. He wasn’t concerned with behavior modification, He was looking for those who could live life with Him in sincerity. If the church today would follow Jesus example of evangelism and discipleship, it’s growth, both in number and holiness would be unprecedented. When the emphasis is placed on giving people a place to belong rather than making sure that they’re ‘behaving’, that acceptance alone will win them to Christ. As you go through this week, watch your actions toward those around you. Are you displaying God’s love and acceptance, or are others seeing you as judgmental and harsh. As simple shift in your actions will make a marked difference in the life of those needing to experience the love and acceptance of Christ.
Saturday, July 14
18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20 And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.
Have you ever read this scripture and gotten caught up in how these men could just up and leave everything they knew to follow someone they had never met? Did Jesus really have that commanding and magnetic of a personality? Were these men especially gullible? Did they just sense the power and draw of God upon Jesus? While some of the previous questions may be answered in the affirmative, what is more likely is the fact that Jesus would have already had a high quality reputation before He approached them. Even though at this time in His life He had not performed any miracles or delivered any life altering sermons, His reputation as a Rabbi and that of His family would have been known. After all, He was already 30 years old when this was taking place. He had worked with His father Joseph as carpenter up to this point. Do you think if Jesus had a reputation of doing poor work or was known for ripping people off that these men would have been eager to jump on His band wagon? Not likely. If you expect to be someone that others want to follow, your reputation and character are vitally important. How you as a believer, operate in your daily life, has a direct impact on your ministry. Being a Christian doesn’t mean you just believe in Him, it means that you understand how important your reputation is with those who don’t know Him.
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