“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits.” Christian leaders are often tempted to focus completely on the future. We need to get somewhere. The pressure is, “where are we headed”. Yet, the scriptures often instruct us to remember, to not forget, where we’ve been and what God has done in the past. When we are not praising God, is it possible we are forgetting something? -Bless the Lord, O my soul, and help me not to forget all your blessing O God.
“Lord, half of my possessions, I give to the poor…” Jesus affirms that “salvation” is more than just words; it involves the action of our lives. Changed people, change their ways. Isn’t it easier to talk about new ways and changed behavior than to actually “live” it. Do my actions show a change of heart? Does my behavior prove a life of faith in Christ? How does the living of my life impact my leadership? – Father, I pray that I might not ask others to do, that which I have not. I pray that I might live the life I talk about. Amen.
“Forgive each other; just as the Lord forgave you…” Forgiving others is not a prescription for how we have assurance of our own sin forgiven, but rather a prayer that we might truly live as those created in the image of God. As His people, we seek to live out his will on earth and in so doing to honor his name throughout the earth. To reflect his image, we forgive. In God’s kingdom relationship are healed and restored. Does my life reflect God’s forgiveness in the world? We want to be like you, our heavenly Father. Amen.
“Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I send you,’…he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” Just a few verses contain a blessing of peace, a commission to ministry, and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to the disciples of Jesus. Why is each of these important to the leadership and ministry of the church? What is the relationship between peace, sending, and empowerment? Breathe on us breath of God; fill us with peace, purpose, and power. Amen.
“I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever…I will not leave you orphaned: I am coming to you.” Adam and Eve mistakenly believed they needed to care for themselves. They felt orphaned. How important is it for us to recognize our dependency on God’s Spirit and give thanks that we are not left alone? Breathe on us breath of God, fill us with life anew. Amen.
“They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.” The preaching of the early church brought on resistance and persecution, largely because of the claim that Jesus was alive. What made this a foundational truth for Jesus’ followers? Do we proclaim in Jesus the resurrection of the dead today, or are people more disturbed by other things we are talking about? O Holy Spirit, let our proclamation be faithful to true Christian testimony first and foremost.
“And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” The power of the
resurrected Christ is bringing everything under his control. This has great implications for us body, mind, and spirit. How does Jesus’ resurrection power help me live out faith in my body? Is this transformational power just about the future or is it meant to change my life now too? Transform me by Your power O God!
“Each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable…” Sometimes it is easy to talk about godly character in some theoretical way, disconnected from what we live in our body. “Self-control” is the embodiment of bringing the body under the discipline of heart and mind. Why is it tempting to have an intellectual faith separated from the body? Why is our body and what we do with it important to our faith and ministry? Spirit of God, only through your power may I live a holy and honorable life. Empower me.
“The Lord established the kingdom under his control; and all Judah brought gifts to Jehoshaphat, so that he had great wealth and honor.” The king’s great wealth, honor, and power come to him as an extension of God’s kingdom’s control. In ministry leadership there is always a temptation to think we are in charge and run things, even
good things. Is my leadership rooted in and submitted to the Kingdom of God in Christ? Am I aware that any leadership I have flows as an extension “under his control?” Lead me not into a power trip temptation. Amen.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” The fruit of the Spirit produces Godly heart, character, and behaviors. Fruit is singular; it all comes in one package.
We pick love, joy, and peace and decide self-control isn’t for me. How is
self-control necessary for all these other characteristics to be displayed in
our lives? Does self-control characterize my life? Lord Jesus, forgive me for times when I desire to lead with my choice of godly characteristics. Develop the full fruit of the Spirit in me and my ministry. Amen.