Today

Lord, thank you for today. Help me to joyfully seize every opportunity you bless me with today and to trust you to carry me through any struggles that may come into my life today.  Fill me with your Holy Spirit so that today I will be a doer of your Word and a true ambassador for Christ. Empower me to let go of the things that belong to tomorrow. 

Lord, I know that when I wake up tomorrow morning it could be to a whole new set of circumstances that won’t even fit into the box I have prepared. Tomorrow will be a different today. Help me to leave tomorrow with you until it becomes today.


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Let go and let God

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of it’s own. – Matthew 6:34

This is one of my go-to verses. One of the verses I memorized years ago and have called to mind many times – usually to remind someone else. But if I’m honest, I still haven’t really allowed these words of Jesus to soak in. It seems I regularly give myself permission to worry about tomorrow. It’s as though I think it’s my job to take care of all of it when Jesus is clearly saying, “I’ve got this!”

As always, it is important to put individual verses into context. Whenever there’s a verse that really hits me, I read the whole passage that it is part of so I can be sure to fully understand the message. In this instance, Jesus is explaining to his audience what should really matter to a child of God. How we must avoid treasuring things of this world that won’t follow us to heaven, anyway. That whatever it is we decide to treasure will define who we are. (For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – Matthew 6:21) 

He goes on to remind us that God loves us! I love how he calls out our silly concerns and points out that if God feeds the birds of the air and clothes the lilies of the field, will he not do this and more for his children? He lovingly reminds us that all our worrying isn’t going to accomplish anything for us, anyway. (Can anyone of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? – Matthew 6:27)

Finally, he points out that all of the worldly things we pay so much attention to are the same things unbelievers chase after. In the grand scheme of eternity, they are just the silly little details of no eternal significance. God alone will determine their importance and assign them their proper priority. Whatever the basic necessities may be for God’s purpose for my life to unfold – he will make sure I have them! My job is to focus on him! He will take care of the rest!

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:33‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Consecrate yourselves

Sometimes when I’m reading a passage of scripture there’s one specific word that resonates with me. It’s as if God took a holy highlighter to it. Today it was the word “consecrate”. 

To consecrate something means to set it apart. To dedicate it to God’s service. Throughout the Old Testament God commands consecration. Sometimes it’s consecration of the animals for the sacrifice. Other times it’s consecration of the priests that will be presenting the sacrifice. And still other times he commands his people as a whole to consecrate themselves in preparation of what he is going to do in their lives. 

Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the Lord your God. – Leviticus 20:7

Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you. – Joshua 3:5

Then you will remember to obey all of my commands and will be consecrated to your God. – Numbers 15:40

Consecrating ourselves to God is an ongoing act. We must regularly remind ourselves that we are children of the almighty Creator and as such, we must be set-apart for all that he has planned for us. We should not be blending in with the godless culture surrounding us. Through daily seeking God in his Word and in prayer, we must be the light in this dark world. (Ephesians 5:8)

But our ultimate consecration is not something that can we can accomplish on our own. No matter how good we may try to be, we will all fall short. – …for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23.  Praise God that he didn’t just leave it that way. Praise God that he didn’t leave us in our “never quite good enough” state to miss the mark and spend eternity separated from him. No – God provided the ultimate consecration of our souls through the blood of his Son Jesus and the final victory over death with his resurrection. 

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. – ‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:8-9‬ ‭

God foretold this ultimate consecration through the prophet Zephaniah. 

Be silent before the Sovereign Lord, for the day of the Lord is near. The Lord has prepared a sacrifice; he has consecrated those he has invited. – Zephaniah‬ ‭1:7‬ ‭

God has invited you and he wants to consecrate you through the blood of Jesus. All he asks you to do is to admit that you’re a sinner and ask him to come into your life and save you. He has amazing things in store for those of us that put our trust in him. 

Good things in…

How important are our entertainment choices? Does it really matter what we watch? What we listen to? What we read?  After all, we won’t let the things we see or hear impact the way we act! Will we?

The Bible warns us about what we put in and how it will impact what comes out. Ever since my kids were little I’ve tried to remind them. “Good things in…good things out.” We should see the things we expose ourselves to throughout each day as seeds being sown into the fertile soil of our minds. These seeds will take root and the roots that grow from them will become our thoughts. Eventually these roots will break through and blossom into our words and our actions. If we are planting seeds of vulgarity, violence, and worldly views that are contrary to the Bible – we can be assured that the plants that grows from those seeds will be vulgar, violent and not very Christ-like. On the other hand, if we are planting seeds of truth, love, peace and other things that are pleasing to God – our words and actions will be more reflective of our Savior, Jesus. 

How often do we ask ourselves – “Would Jesus watch what I’m watching? Listen to what I’m listening to? Read what I’m reading?”  If we truly know God through his Word, this should not be hard to answer. As a redeemed follower of Christ, we have the Holy Spirit living in us. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would teach us and remind us of what we should do. (John 14:26). As a Christian, we can feel the prompting of the Spirit within us. We get that feeling in our gut that makes us wince when we see or hear something that is not pleasing to God. But if we continually choose to ignore that prompting of the Spirit, we will find ourselves recognizing it less and less until it is no longer familiar to us. That is a scary thought. I don’t ever want to be desensitized to the prompting of the Spirit. I don’t ever want God’s voice to be unfamiliar to me. 

It is more important than ever for followers of Christ to make careful and deliberate choices about what we fill our minds with. Our enemy, Satan, has already taken a foothold in the entertainment industry and nothing would make him happier than for Christians to minimize the impact ungodly media will have on our testimony. 

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14

Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. – ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:8‬‬‬

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. – ‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:1-2‬ ‭‬‬

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! – Isaiah‬ ‭26:3‬ ‭‬‬

God is in Control

A couple thousand years ago the prophet Isaiah had a message for Cyrus, the King of Persia. God had a plan for his people and Cyrus was going to be part of making it happen, whether he wanted to or not. 

“For the sake of Jacob my servant, of Israel my chosen, I summon you by name and bestow on you a title of honor, though you do not acknowledge me. I am the Lord, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me,” – Isaiah‬ ‭45:4-5‬ ‭

So many other Godless leaders throughout history have been used to accomplish God’s will. Even Pontius Pilate, who ultimately sent Jesus to be crucified, had no power that wasn’t given to him from God. (John 19:10-11)

As a Christian, this fact gives me great hope and peace as I watch the actions of the Godless leaders of our generation. None of it is taking God by surprise. None of it is interfering with his ultimate plan. Though so many of the leaders of today may not rightly acknowledge the All Mighty God, He is still in control!

The Bible makes it very clear what the final outcome of this world and its leaders will be. More and more each day being a Christian and holding to Biblical values is seen as being on the “wrong side of history.” Frankly I’m not at all upset about that assertion. I’m far more concerned about being on the right side of eternity!

“This is what the Lord says— the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker: Concerning things to come, do you question me about my children, or give me orders about the work of my hands? It is I who made the earth and created mankind on it. My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts. I will raise up Cyrus in my righteousness: I will make all his ways straight. He will rebuild my city and set my exiles free, but not for a price or reward, says the Lord Almighty.” ‭‭- Isaiah‬ ‭45:11-13‬ ‭

“Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.” – ‭Isaiah‬ ‭45:22‬

How to get into the Bible

The Bible is a big book. But it is without a doubt the best book ever written.  No matter how many times I’ve read a particular passage, it never fails to provide fresh insight. And I never fail to discover something new in the worn out pages of my Bible. 

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

So where do you begin? How do you get into the Bible? How do you allow it to penetrate your mind and soak into your soul? There are countless Bible reading plans, daily devotionals, etc. that can serve as a useful guide and provide a starting point. If you are an “app user” – my favorite app is YouVersion. Whether you choose to select one of the many devotionals and reading plans available or just use the “Verse of the Day” as a starting point, it’s a great way to have God’s Word at your fingertips. (I like to have my printed Bible alongside it so I can continue to highlight verses and make notes. Having my Bible all marked up makes it feel “lived in”.)

One you’ve picked a method to guide you, you have to set aside a time every day to read your Bible. Even just fifteen minutes. Schedule it like you schedule doctor appointments or work meetings. Most people won’t miss something they’ve scheduled. Then be prepared for Satan to come along and throw all sorts of “good reasons” at you to miss your appointment with the Bible. You might have a headache. Or your house is a mess. Or you’ll over sleep. Don’t let him win. Just the act of opening your Bible and reading the verse(s) aloud will shut him up! And if you do miss your appointment, don’t hesitate to show up late or comeback tomorrow. God always accepts walk-ins!

Remember to involve God in your daily Bible time. Pray that through the power of the Holy Spirit you will have understanding of his Word and that it will provide you a fresh message to store in your heart. 

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11

Once you’ve decided on what you’re reading, be sure to give it context. If there is a certain verse that speaks to you, read the whole passage surrounding it. (Don’t cherry pick and try to apply a single verse to your life without understanding it in context.)

Finally, think about what you learned and how you can apply it. Sometimes it might be a story that provides insight into who God is and how he responds to his people. Sometimes it might be a lesson to learn from the choices and consequences of a Biblical character. Sometimes it’s a specific instruction to be applied to your life. Sometimes it’s a word of encouragement or a promise of God to hold on to. Sometimes it’s a prophetic word about God’s future plans for his people and for this world. Whatever it is – allow it to really permeate your heart. If you’re a writer, write it down. Write yourself a note about what it meant to you. Write out a prayer to God confirming what he showed you. If you’re not a writer, speak it out loud – even in a soft whisper. Share it with someone else. “You know what I learned in the Bible today?” Determine to allow it to impact your life.

And definitely do what you can to memorize Bible verses. Nothing is more powerful than being able to recall God’s words when life happens. (To be honest, my Bible memorization isn’t an exact science. I know a lot of verses, even if not word for word, that I can find when I need to. And I also don’t always know the exact location, but I can usually get close when I need to look it up. Often I know the street, but maybe not the house number. This is why I am thankful for the search tool in my Bible app.)

I promise you that if you make it a practice to read God’s word, you will continue to hunger for it. And the more you read it, the more you will understand who God is and why you’re here. Nothing will give you a greater peace through all life has in store for you than the living Word of God!