“Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.” Our reasons for thanksgiving are both voluminous and diverse. The Psalmist here makes the reason for his praise, not the blessing of family and friends, not health and property, not the prizes of shopping endeavors or winning sports teams, his reason for thanksgiving is simply the greatness of God and His Kingship over all things. What am I thankful for today? How much of my thanksgiving recognizes God as King and source of life? Great God, keep my focus upon You above all. Amen.
“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.
“for the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.” We live in a day in which we value many shades of grey and living color; it seems so limiting to have just two ways. There is a fundamental orientation of our heart however; we lean toward God or our own will and ways. Which way is your heart oriented these days? Holy Spirit, Spirit of truth and mercy, search us, reveal the truth of our way, and lead us in the way of the righteous, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
“The God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion…” God, the Almighty and All-Powerful, decides to share his creation project with us. He calls us to help us “rule” all he has made and do so as those made in his image. What are the implications of God’s sharing his rule, for all of us who lead in our families, in our work places, in our churches, and all places? Is it easy for us to share power? Teach us your heart for leading Almighty and Loving God.
“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.
“But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?” Paul seems convinced in this chapter that something is seriously missing from the Christian faith without the resurrection. What difference does it make whether Jesus rose from the dead? Why does it matter to the church and to Christian leadership? Almighty God, let lingering doubts and unbelief be set to rest as we put our whole faith in the risen Christ. Amen.
“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.