#11 Gifted to Change

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For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

– John 3:16, NASB

All journeys are made for a reason. We usually begin one to achieve or earn some item, some recognition, some reward of value – a treasure.

But what if the treasure came at the beginning of your journey, given without being earned first? Would you then disregard your travels, having already received the award, or would you be motivated even further by this gracious gift?

Grace, itself, is a gift – a little idea with such consuming power that it can transform hate into love, anger into joy, and enemies into friends. It is a present that requires nothing of us, but because of its worth, its immeasurable value, its beauty – it becomes the reason for the journey and that which sparks us forward, not out of duty of hope for gain, but out of something more pure: gratitude.

Pray | Ask that you’ll respond to God’ grace in a transformative way

Read | Meditate on these verses this week: Jeremiah 29:11 / Romans 6:1-2 / 2 Corinthians 5:17 / Romans 12:2 / James 2:14-26

Act | Think about Christ’s sacrifice and do loving action in light of it

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#8 Solo Journey Together

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Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: if either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.

– Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Have you ever undertaken an arduous trek? Perhaps it was a difficult hike, a challenging run, or long walk in the city. Did you go it alone?

Oftentimes, our journeys are made solo – but that doesn’t mean we take them alone. We carry items with us that can make these mini-adventures more bearable – fun, even. Our mobile devices, comfortable shoes, a utility tool – these are the weapons of our trade that help us make it through.

A life in the spirit is very much the same. What (or rather who) we take with us on our way can help mightily – a church body for support; strong leadership for accountability; loving friends for encouragement. A life in the spirit may be our own – but it was never meant to be lived alone.

Pray | Ask about your friendships and ask for spiritual accountability

Read | Meditate on these verses this week: Heb 10:24-25 / 1 Cor 12:21-26 / Gal 6:1-5 / Heb 13:17 / 1 Thess 5:9-11

Act | Build further accountability in your walk with Christ for yourself and/or others (ex. consider finding an accountability partner)

#6 One True Love

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So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.

– Genesis 19:20

It may be far-fetched, but the fanciful thought that “one true love” exists for each of us is certainly appealing. Television, movies, and anime tell us that perhaps there is such a thing, and in our heart of hearts, we may believe it, too.

We all desire a fulfilling love. Some of us know this inclination intimately, as our thoughts and actions frequently stray toward seeking affection. Others may already have devoted support and not even comprehend that they’ll feel incomplete if they lost such affection.

We are designed to love – to give it and to receive it. Our relationships, imperfect as they are, demonstrate as much. They also suggest something splendid: although the love we experience is faulty, a perfect, pure, and never-failing love lies in wait for us.  It’s all ours – we only need surrender to it.

Pray | Ask to experience God’s love, either more fully, if you’re a believer, or in some shape or manner, if you are not

Read | Meditate on these verses this week: John 15:9-17Matthew 6:24 / 1 John 3:18 / Proverbs 17:17 / Psalms 63:3

Act | Reflect on the role that the desire for love plays in your life, and how that relates to your relationship with God

#4 Fiery Passion

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Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”

– Hebrews 12:28-29

I have a burning desire for herThere’s a real spark between usHe’s so hot.  Words related to heat seem to perfectly describe the passion of relationships. What other concept can better relate the way two people feel when they are on fire for each other?  Imagine a love so intense that everything seems to burn up in their flames for one another.

As good as these feelings are, they’re mainly superficial, dealing with the laws of attraction and chemistry.  But what if there was intense fire in a relationship that was more than skin deep, that seared our very souls?

When we respond to grace, opening the doors for relationship, we find that God doesn’t walk in meekly.  He arrives in full force, a fire so hot that it burns us to a crisp – it eats away our pains, ills, sin, and guilt.  It carbonizes our old selves, and out of those ashes rises someone reinvented, someone sublime.  From the heat of this perfect love, we discover this – we’ve become someone more lovely than we ever thought we could be.

Pray | Ask God to “burn you up” with a desire for him, or if you don’t feel a need for such passion, instead ask God to show you what it is he wants out of your relationship with him

Read | Meditate on these verses this week: 1 Peter 1:3-9 / Job 23:10 / Ezekiel 18:31 / 2 Corinthians 5:17 / Zechariah 13:9

Act | Develop a list of those things in you that you would like to change and spend time reflecting both on why you haven’t changed and how you might approach changes in these areas