Unity: Serving Each Other – Ephesians 4:1-16

While many of our thoughts about how we’d like church to be aren’t necessarily right or wrong, the Bible outlines the purpose and functions of church. Today we will see how the church is a part of God’s plan for the growth and devotion of its members. The sevenfold repetition of “one” in these verses is striking. The unity of the body of Christ reflects the unity and oneness that permeates the Godhead—God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Since God is one, that same unity should permeate the Christian community. The church displays God through the reflection of His character. The attitudes that help believers express unity (4:2) are as essential today as they were when Paul first wrote them. These seven unities—three related to the Trinity and four related to the church—are eternally true in God’s purposes and plan. Realizing these truths will help us live up to our calling. We are to live with a willingness to serve each other. Sometimes we will be faced with those who are unwilling for whatever reason. But everything God has given us is for unity of the church.

PRAYER – Jesus, I know You, The Father and The Holy Spirit are one. Help us to see and hold onto the mindset of “oneness” for Your honor and glory. It’s not my kingdom, but Your Kingdom. Amen.

No Loner Christians – Colossians 3:12-17

Some problems are too big for us to solve on our own. This is one reason we need other people. The beauty of the church is that God has not designed for us to live our lives alone. The Bible knows nothing of a loner Christian. God has brought together a group of people with a range of different experiences and gifts, and in that diversity there is wisdom. When we live with other Christians in committed relationships, we benefit from each other’s wisdom and experience. Christ called believers to His peace, which is best understood as spiritual wholeness under His lordship. The phrase “in one body” implies believers’ oneness under Christ’s rule as the head of His body, the church. Believers allow Christ’s gift of spiritual health to exercise control, which causes us to be thankful. Paul admonished believers to let the message (literally, “word”) about the Messiah dwell richly among them. To help the Colossians understand, Paul pointed to three ongoing activities that should guide our relationships with one another: teaching, admonishing, and singing. Paul urged believers to do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus. “Name” is a synonym for person. Thus, the phrase is the same as “in Christ”—in close relationship with Him. The words “in the name of” can mean “in the authority or power of.” Jesus supplies power for Christian living. The title “the Lord Jesus” stressed that believers were to represent their Savior and Master well in their daily lives. Our surrender to Christ fuels our commitment to one another.

PRAYER – I hereby surrender everything that I am, and have, and ever will be. I take my hands off of my life and release every relationship to You: every habit, every goal, my health, my wealth, and everything that means anything. I surrender it ALL to You. By faith I take my place at the Cross, believing that when the Lord Jesus was crucified, according to Your Word, I was crucified with Him; when He was buried, I was buried; when He was raised from the dead, I was raised with Him. I deny myself the right to rule and reign in my own life and I take up the Cross believing that You are in my and I in You. I thank You for saving me from my sins and myself. From this moment on I am trusting You to live Your life in me and through me, instead of me, to do what I can’t do, quit what I can’t quit, start what I can’t start, and–most of all–to be what I can’t be. I am trusting you to renew my mind and heal damaged emotions in Your time. I thank You now by faith for accepting me in the Lord Jesus, for giving me Your grace, Your freedom, Your joy, Your victory and Your righteousness as my inheritance. Even if I don’t feel anything, I know that Your Word is true; I am counting on Your Spirit to do what Your Word says– to set me free from myself, that Your resurrection life may be lived out through me, and that You may receive all the glory. I thank You and praise You for victory right now in Jesus’ name, Amen.

What’s Our Motivation – Proverbs 16:1-33

Occasionally we find ourselves disturbed and depressed, even in trying to do the Lord’s work. Could anything be further from what God desires? God cannot work through anxious hearts. Whenever a Christian reaches this state, he should stop at once and ask himself, “Whose work is it?” If it’s God’s work, never forget the burden of it is His, too. You are not the important person. Christ is! He is at work through us. What should we do then when things do not go well? Go to Him! Anything less than this is disobedience. A man’s ways are his outward acts; he judges himself by them and pronounces himself pure. But God sees the motives and intentions of the heart. Seek Christ, serve Him, and follow Him – and as we do we must remain judging our motives and not our outward acts. The results do not mean anything if the motives were not pure in the first place. When we line ourselves up with Christ daily by walking in the guidance of the Spirit, we will live out Proverbs 16. Are you?

PRAYER – I hereby surrender everything that I am, and have, and ever will be. I take my hands off of my life and release every relationship to You: every habit, every goal, my health, my wealth, and everything that means anything. I surrender it ALL to You. By faith I take my place at the Cross, believing that when the Lord Jesus was crucified, according to Your Word, I was crucified with Him; when He was buried, I was buried; when He was raised from the dead, I was raised with Him. I deny myself the right to rule and reign in my own life and I take up the Cross believing that You are in my and I in You. I thank You for saving me from my sins and myself. From this moment on I am trusting You to live Your life in me and through me, instead of me, to do what I can’t do, quit what I can’t quit, start what I can’t start, and–most of all–to be what I can’t be. I am trusting you to renew my mind and heal damaged emotions in Your time. I thank You now by faith for accepting me in the Lord Jesus, for giving me Your grace, Your freedom, Your joy, Your victory and Your righteousness as my inheritance. Even if I don’t feel anything, I know that Your Word is true; I am counting on Your Spirit to do what Your Word says– to set me free from myself, that Your resurrection life may be lived out through me, and that You may receive all the glory. I thank You and praise You for victory right now in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Who Is Your Standard Of Love – Luke 6:27-36

It’s always been funny to me to hear someone say, “I would treat somebody that way” or “who do they think they are.” Why because in those statements Jesus is no longer the standard bearer – You ARE! If we love those who love us, how are we different from the world? You can see each and everyday people of the world loving those who love them. We, however, have been set apart to walk differently from the world. Therefore, we are to love those who love us and love those who don’t love us. Why, because we have experienced the most ultimate greatest love the world has ever known – Jesus. Who is your standard of love?

PRAYER – The standards, Lord, of Your kingdom—of giving, blessing, forgiving—are qualities I lack in and of myself. Therefore, I need forgiveness, and I embrace You as my Saviour. I invite and surrender my heart to You again. And in so doing, to allow my life to more completely display these qualities. Strip from me, Lord, hypocrisy. Take from me, Lord, attitudes of judgment or condemnation. Keep me, Lord, from being one who hears the Word, but doesn’t build my life on it. I pray that my life might truly be built upon the Rock, that as the storms come, I might stand in that day. So by the Spirit, in the Spirit, I absorb these teachings, this message, and pray that I might do unto others as I would have them do unto me. Make me like You, Jesus. Allow me to be one who is more concerned about compassion than tradition. Allow me to be one who responds to You rather than argue why things can’t be done. I seek Your presence, asking You to do Your work in my life. Set me free, Lord, to be a liberator and lover of others as I look to and love You. In Jesus name,Amen.

Revelation Follows Obedience – John 13:1-20

Have you ever stopped to really grasp the magnitude of what Jesus did by washing the disciples’ feet? We call ourselves Christians and say we desire to be like Christ, but do you really understand what you are asking or seeking? To truly comprehend what it means to follow Christ (especially in regards to others), you have to gain an understanding of today’s scripture. The lowest slave was the only one that could touch another’s feet and it had to be a Gentile slave at that. Why, because had a Jewish slave washed another’s Jews feet, they would have to go through a cleansing process. Feet were the dirtiest part of the body. Jesus is asking us to serve each other in humility. Is the Lord speaking to you right now about some area of obedience—some challenge, some adjustment in your life—but you’re saying, “I’m not going to do it until I can see how it’s going to work out”? Husband, are you saying, “I’m not going to stay with her until I see a change in her attitude”? Wife, are you saying, “I’m not going to submit to him until he proves himself”? Teenager, are you saying, “I’m not going to obey them until they make sense”? That’s backward. Revelation follows obedience.

PRAYER – Lord help me to see others as You desire me too. Help me not to raise myself up above anyone else. I want to serve and follow You, therefore, I will seek to serve others.  Thank You, Father. Amen.