WHO GETS YOUR BLESSING

From the (Un)qualified devotional by STEVEN Furtick

“Your brother,” he said, “came here falsely and took your blessing.” Esau said, “Not for nothing was he named Jacob, the Heel. Twice now he’s tricked me: first he took my birthright and now he’s taken my blessing.” He begged, “Haven’t you kept back any blessing for me?””

‭‭Genesis‬ ‭27:35-36‬ ‭MSG‬‬

One of the most dramatically unqualified biblical heroes I can think of is Jacob. He was a liar, a con, a trickster, a fraud. He spent much of his life haunted by bad decisions and exiled to the chaos of self-inflicted consequences. And yet God called him, chose him, and even blessed him.

Jacob ended up playing a major role in God’s plan to redeem the world. He emerged simultaneously as one of the most important figures in Scripture and one of the most screwed up.

Jacob was a poster child for the confusion and complications that weaknesses produce. But he was also a dramatic example of someone who was, at least by the end of his life, able to embrace his insufficiencies, look past them, and trust in God.

And when he did, God took over. He overruled Jacob’s limitations and trumped his disqualifications. Jacob was acutely, painfully, spectacularly human. That’s probably why I can relate to his failures faster than his feats. But ultimately God redeemed, redefined, and realigned Jacob through his weaknesses, not in spite of them. And that’s what He will do for you and me, when we embrace who we really are. He wants to bless the real you, with all your insufficiencies and weaknesses. He is the one who has called you, equipped you, and empowered you. And He is able to open doors of opportunity just for you…just as you are.

VERSE OF THE DAY

“For my part, I am going to boast about nothing but the Cross of our Master, Jesus Christ. Because of that Cross, I have been crucified in relation to the world, set free from the stifling atmosphere of pleasing others and fitting into the little patterns that they dictate. Can’t you see the central issue in all this? It is not what you and I do—submit to circumcision, reject circumcision. It is what God is doing, and he is creating something totally new, a free life! All who walk by this standard are the true Israel of God—his chosen people. Peace and mercy on them!

Quite frankly, I don’t want to be bothered anymore by these disputes. I have far more important things to do—the serious living of this faith. I bear in my body scars from my service to Jesus. May what our Master Jesus Christ gives freely be deeply and personally yours, my friends. Oh, yes!”

‭‭Galatians‬ ‭6:14-18‬ ‭MSG‬‬

LIFE’S BIGGEST QUESTION

From the (Un)qualified devotional by STEVEN Furtick

In Matthew 16, Jesus is having a conversation about His identity with Simon Peter, and Jesus asked him an all-important question: “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” And he got it right.

Getting this question right is both the quintessence of salvation and the starting point for a lifelong journey. You are saved when you come to know and believe in Jesus as your Lord and Savior, but that is only the beginning of your relationship with Him.

When Simon correctly identified who Jesus was, Jesus identified who Simon was.

He said, “I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church.” From then on, Simon was known as Rock. That’s what petros, or Peter, means in Greek.

What changed in that moment wasn’t who Peter was but rather his view of who he was. Jesus said he was a rock. Suddenly Peter could see the man he really was.

So who do you say Jesus is? It’s life’s biggest question. Knowing God is paramount to finding out why He made you and who He means for you to be.

God wants to give you a revelation of who you are too. He wants to show you your value now, and He wants to open your eyes to who you can become in Him.

Stop talking about who you are not and what you cannot do, and start listening to what God says about your life. Stop labeling yourself, and start letting God do whatever He wants in, through, and with you. It’s time to take the fullness of Christ into account when you think of yourself.

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From the (UN)QUALIFIED Daily devotional by STEVEN Furtivk

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This is one of the Ten Commandments I most misunderstood growing up: Don’t take the Lord’s name in vain. I thought this commandment had a very specific and limited application. Basically it boils down to not saying, “Oh, my God!” when you are shocked or excited. It means not saying, “Jesus Christ!” when someone cuts you off in traffic.

But this commandment is about far more than how you use God’s name as a vocabulary word – it’s about how you take His name as a way of life.

In other words, do you live according to who He is? Does your life reflect His identity? Or do you live in ways that are incongruent with the name you took when you decided to call yourself a Christian?

Unfortunately, my tendency – and maybe yours – is to take this commandment almost as a threat. We think God’s focus is our behavior. But our actions are only a small part of what it means to take God’s name in vain.

In reality, this commandment is directly connected to how we view ourselves.

God has given you the gift of identity. He’s given you His identity, His sufficiency, and His qualifications.

And God wants to give you His name in your situation, in your weakness, and in your need. But you have to choose to take it.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY – EXPERIENCE LIFE ON GOD’S TERMS

“But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won’t know what we’re talking about. But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells—even though you still experience all the limitations of sin—you yourself experience life on God’s terms. It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he’ll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s!”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:9-11‬ ‭MSG‬‬

http://bible.com/97/rom.8.9-11.msg

LOOKING FOR THE MESSIAH

Looking for the Messiah, Part 2

by Max Lucado

Some missed him.

Some miss him still.

We expect God to speak through peace, but sometimes he speaks through pain.

We think God talks through the church, but he also talks through the lost.

We look for the answer among the Protestants, but he’s been known to speak through the Catholics.

We listen for him among the Catholics but find him among the Quakers.

We think we hear him in the sunrise, but he is also heard in the darkness.

We listen for him in triumph, but he speaks even more distinctly through tragedy.

We must let God define himself.

When we do, when we let God define himself, a whole new world opens before us. How, you ask? Let me explain with a story.

Once there was a man whose life was one of misery. The days were cloudy, and the nights were long. Henry didn’t want to be unhappy, but he was. With the passing of the years, his life had changed. His children were grown. The neighborhood was different. The city seemed harsher.

He was unhappy. He decided to ask his minister what was wrong.

“Am I unhappy for some sin I have committed?”

“Yes,” the wise pastor replied. “You have sinned.”

“And what might that sin be?”

“Ignorance,” came the reply. “The sin of ignorance. One of your neighbors is the Messiah in disguise, and you have not seen him.”

The old man left the office stunned. “The Messiah is one of my neighbors?” He began to think who it might be.

Tom the butcher? No, he’s too lazy. Mary, my cousin down the street? No, too much pride. Aaron the paperboy? No, too indulgent. The man was confounded. Every person he knew had defects. But one was the Messiah. He began to look for Him.

He began to notice things he hadn’t seen. The grocer often carried sacks to the cars of older ladies. Maybe he is the Messiah. The officer at the corner always had a smile for the kids. Could it be? And the young couple who’d moved next door. How kind they are to their cat. Maybe one of them …

With time he saw things in people he’d never seen. And with time his outlook began to change. The bounce returned to his step. His eyes took on a friendly sparkle. When others spoke he listened. After all, he might be listening to the Messiah. When anyone asked for help, he responded; after all this might be the Messiah needing assistance.

The change of attitude was so significant that someone asked him why he was so happy. “I don’t know,” he answered. “All I know is that things changed when I started looking for God.”

Now, that’s curious. The old man saw Jesus because he didn’t know what he looked like. The people in Jesus’ day missed him because they thought they did.

How are things looking in your neighborhood?

From A Gentle Thunder

Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 1987) Max Lucado

A STUDY OF PSALM 91 – 3

“Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. Just open your eyes, and see how the wicked are punished.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭91:5-8‬ ‭NLT‬‬

God will protect us and deliver us from every attack.  His deliverance may mean that we still face trials, but Jesus said: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.” (Matt. 10:28). When God protects us—his children—we know that we are safe.  Even if we suffer persecution and physical death, nothing can snatch us out of God’s powerful and loving hands.

When enemies directly attack us we can remain at peace, knowing that God himself is our shield and our fortress. Remember that we don’t have to act—you will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.” God will act on your behalf.  God will defend his children. “Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will accomplish for you today. (Exodus 14:13). We just need to declare His victory! His supremacy!

Open your eyes and see God at work! He has never and will never fail! Victory is assured