God has a plan and a purpose for our lives. He doesn't just create us and then leave us to our own resources. He is a good father. God uses the good days - and the bad days - to help move us to where we are supposed to be - the ultimate “God plan” for our lives. There IS a plan. It is a good plan. Are you tapping into the game plan that God has for you? Are you keeping the faith, even during the dry, hot, and difficult days? Pastor Adam showed some very inspirational videos in the “film room” this week of athletes who overcame obstacles and how God used them - and their obstacles - for HIS plan and HIS purposes within their personal lives, their families, their teams and even the world. One of those was Inky Johnson. Read about him here.
Jesus takes what many consider an "upside down” approach to life as he teaches kingdom principles during his Sermon on the Mount. He raises the bar for everyone listening, and even for us today. We have the opportunity to have a relationship with God and that changes everything. Jesus makes it clear things in life are not just all about us. There is much more to the story. He gives grace and mercy for the journey. Are you willing to stay tuned into God’s plan in order to hear and play out the entire story.
MONDAY: Read Matthew 7:7-11: Who are you trusting to guide you as you make decisions about your family, your career………your very life? How can you bring your desires, prayers and petitions to God this week and then place them in his hands? Some people find a tactile exercise of some sort to be helpful, such as writing their prayers on a small strip of paper and putting them in a prayer jar. This can be a meaningful family exercise.
TUESDAY: Read Matthew 7:12-14: What are you putting into your life? What path are you on? Jeremiah 6:16 says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” Are you willing to seek God’s path for your days, months and years? There is an old saying: thoughts become actions, actions become habits, habits become lifestyles and your lifestyle becomes your destiny. What do you long for in your destiny? Is God part of the plan?
WEDNESDAY: Read Matthew 7:15. Reflect on this question: Who are you listening to? The news? Social media? Your co-workers? The critical and unrelenting voice within you that tears you down? Is this something you need to change? How can you begin to listen to God more on a daily basis?
THURSDAY: Read Matthew 7:16-20: What fruit is your life bearing? What are you building your life upon? Are you created as an apple tree, but you keep trying to produce a different fruit? How can you seek God and what HE has for you? “There is only one problem on which all my existence, my peace, and my happiness depend: to discover myself in discovering God. If I find Him I will find myself and if I find my true self, I will find HIm.” Thomas Merton. The goal of the spiritual journey is the transformation of self. The fancy word is sanctification. This requires knowing both ourself and God. If you don’t know who you really are - the true, God given parts and the “false self,” you don’t know what needs tranforming.
FRIDAY: Matthew 7:24-28: Picture two houses - one built on rock and one on sand. You might recall news footage of beachfront homes tumbling into the sea as a storm surge rips the sand from their pilings. Or picture a lighthouse standing firm against the pounding waves. Which of these pictures most resembles your life? Does it have characteristics of each? What storms of life are raging against you now? In what ways do you feel yourself tottering? How can you stand firm? What makes the difference? How can Jesus Christ become your sure foundation - your solid rock? You might crystallize this image by take paper and pencils and drawing a representation of yourself as a house being battered by wind and waves.