Planted - Juggling Act
Monday, January 22
Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.
Knowledge vs. Intimacy…it is the unseen battle faced by every believer. Many people fall into settling for a book or head knowledge of who He is, and very few will truly get to know Him. You can put hours of time into studying the Word but without a working relationship you simply learn the facts that are stated in the Bible. Think back to a time in school when you were assigned to write a biography about someone from history. As much as you learned about that person, you would never go so far as to say that you knew him or her. Why then would anyone think that simply reading their Bible or hearing about the Lord from a preacher could constitute a relationship with Him. This is a trap that many find themselves falling into. You may know that He can heal, but is He your healer? You may know that He can provide, but is He your provider? You may know that He can deliver, but is he your deliver? As great and as important as the Bible is, it was never meant to replace your personal relationship with the man, Jesus. Ask yourself this question, “Do I know Jesus, or do I just know about Him?”
Tuesday, January 23
But he said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.”
One of the lies that people buy into and allow to cripple their faith is that what they have to offer is not sufficient enough to make a difference. By falling for this scheme of the enemy they slip into dormancy and produce no fruit at all. The truth is that no matter how rich or poor, bold or timid, strong or weak you are, you have something to offer. A pat on the back of a co-worker who’s having a difficult day or a quick text to someone who’s dealing with a loss can bring life giving hope back into their lives. The last thing that the devil wants you to know is that you can bear fruit at whatever stage of life, good or bad, you find yourself in. He doesn’t want you reaching out and being Jesus to someone else so He will try to convince you that the ‘little’ you have to offer can’t and won’t make a difference. Have you allowed yourself to go dormant because you feel like your fruit isn’t good enough? Give Jesus a chance to do a miracle through you…step out and bear some fruit. He will use it to change someone’s life.
Wednesday, January 24
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
Are you producing fruit or simply putting on a good show? Are seeking to truly be a blessing and pour into someone else’s life or are you just in it trying to maintain a good reputation? Many people are quick to throw money at a situation, or speak hollow, empty words in front of a crowd in an effort to show others how Godly they are. When you give or reach out to someone is it with the heart and intent of wanting to see them blessed and encouraged, or is it simply to ease your conscience and perform your due diligence? The Holy Spirit wants you to produce fruit, not works. He has an intense longing to touch the hurting and broken with His love, not just with a handout from someone who has no heart to see the Kingdom take place in their lives.
It all boils down to whether He is your Lord, not just your Savior. If you find yourself just doing good things rather than producing fruit, ask Him to give you a heart for those who need an encounter with His love.
Thursday, January 25
II Timothy 1:7 “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
One of the biggest hinderances in people that keeps them from producing fruit is fear. Whether it be a fear of what others will think, an unfamiliarity with something that they’ve never done before, or a fear of failure, they lack the where with all to step out and allow the Holy Spirit to use them. Where they fall short is not in confidence, knowledge, or even desire. The break down occurs simply because they fail to comprehend the Spirit that they’ve been given. The Holy Spirit, the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead, lives within them if they’ve been born again. Not taking the time to allow their relationship with the Holy Spirit grow and develop leaves them severely lacking in the ability to produce because they fail to understand that it’s His Spirit that does the producing. If you’re in a place where fear is hindering the fruit that you know you should be producing, don’t just sit there and wallow around in it. Take the time to get to know Him, the Spirit of the one true living God. After all, you trusted Him with your soul’s eternal salvation, so why would you not let Him produce some amazing fruit through you as well.
Friday, January 26
I John 4:18
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
If you were to randomly ask several people what they thought was the opposite of love the overwhelming answer would undoubtedly be hate. What people fail to understand is that fear is actually love’s opposite. If you’ll think about it anything hate based is rooted in fear. The hate that the Israelites received from the Egyptians was because Pharaoh feared the Israelites. ‘Hate’ crimes result from racism, but racism is rooted in fear. The reason racism exists is because people fear what they don’t understand or feel inferior to. This fear leads to one group trying to oppress the other for fear that the other may become greater than them. This fear overshadows the love that would otherwise be present in the hearts of those involved causing hate and division to manifest in their lives. Are there are people (individually or as a group) who you have a hard time accepting and showing love to? Check your heart and see if you’ve let the enemy make them appear as a threat to you. If there are areas of fear in your life, you must allow His perfect love into those areas in order to overcome it. Allow the Spirit of love to begin the perfecting process in your life by casting out any fear that may be residing there.
Saturday, January 27
2 Corinthians 5:7
for we walk by faith, not by sight.
Just like most people feel that hate is the opposite of love, most also feel that fear is the opposite of faith. The Bible, however, explains that sight is actually faith’s opposite. Faith is simply the convictions and beliefs that you have established in your life that dictate the way you live. As a believer you understand that your belief system, or faith, determines that you will live differently than the rest of the world. You can see how the world operates every time you leave your home but you can’t see the beliefs that tell you to operate on a higher level. You may see a bad report from the doctor, but your faith sees you as well and whole. You may see the bills piling up, but your faith sees them as paid even before the money comes in. If you allow yourself to spend more time seeing the problem than you spend believing what the Word says your faith will struggle. So stop focussing on and staring at your issues and spend more time allowing your spirit to fellowship with One who is your answer. Your faith will be strengthened and you will receive the the promises of God.
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