Verse of the Week: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Hebrews 10:24 (NIV)
Monday: To be a disciple means to be a student. Jesus chose twelve men to be His disciples. He shared and invested in them, teaching them the things of God that He wanted them to teach others. As Jesus-followers, we are disciples in some level of training. In church, Life Group, in Jesus-centered friendships, or in our quiet times with God, we learn and grow in God’s Word. Then, as the Holy Spirit guides, we apply it and share with those in our circle of influence. This could be our children, spouse, family, and/or friends. Inevitably we influence those around us, whether positive or negative. So it’s my responsibility and pleasure to share with those in my circle, as I grow in Christ. It’s fun to see my growth spawn their growth, and vice versa. And perhaps by sharing, someone who may not know Jesus may want to know Him. Who is in your circle of influence? Are you growing in God’s Word? How are you using your influence in others lives?
Read: Luke 6:13; Acts 6:7; John 13:34-35
Tuesday: When Moses realized he would soon die, he prayed specifically for God to send a man he could teach and bless to lead the Israelites. God sent Joshua. Moses followed God by commissioning Joshua and giving him authority in front of the Israelites so they would follow him. God also told Moses to encourage him. Throughout the Old Testament, by encouragement, followers became great leaders and battles were won. So God clearly wants us communicating with Him and encouraging those around us. In the New Testament, Paul and Barnabas were encouragers and by their words, the church grew and “a great number of people were brought to the Lord” (Acts11:24). Also Paul spent time on his knees in prayer for those in his span of influence and consistently spoke truth into their lives. To lead and disciple effectively we must be willing to speak truth through God’s Word, pray for, and encourage those He has entrusted to us.
Read: Ephesians 3:14-19; Numbers 27:15-23; Deuteronomy 3:28
Wednesday: God’s Word promotes growth. God compares His Word to rain and snow watering the earth: “It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11). God speaks to us through His Word. If we don’t know what it says, how then can we live by it? Before reading, pray that the Holy Spirit reveals through His Word how it is “living and active” in your life. Recently I was thanking God and added to my prayer, “Please make me a blessing today.” As I flipped through my Bible in search of a scripture from my morning devotion, the words “…you will be a blessing” jumped off the page. It was from Genesis 12:2. God was blessing Abraham to be the father of the nations of Israel. But that morning, God was speaking clearly to me. How sweet of Him to affirm me through His Word within seconds of asking! Have you spent enough time with Him and in His Word to hear from Him? What has He spoken to you lately?
Read: Hebrews 4:12; Psalms 18:30; 33:4; 119:105
Thursday: God gifts us with people to encourage us along life’s journey. Some of life’s greatest treasures are the God-ordained friends with whom we do life. In these transparent relationships we listen, encourage, and speak truth from God’s Word. My “iron sharpening iron” friend is one who holds me accountable and spurs me on to greatness in Christ. The beauty of it is God uses me to do the same for her. But true community begins with God- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Relationship with that dynamic trio is most important, prefacing and enhancing all of our earthly relationships. The Holy Spirit compels us with His love to come closer, helping us recognize our human depravity and need for the Savior. To start your journey with Him, simply ask Jesus to come and be the Forgiver and Leader of your life. Through Jesus we have been reconciled to have relationship with the Father. With whom do you have community and do those friends point you to the Truth? Are you held accountable, sharpened and encouraged regularly? And most importantly are you in relationship with God?
Read: Proverbs 27:17; Ecclesiastes 4:12; John 3:16
Friday: Community involves worship. I love worshiping God with singing, and especially love helping others “enter His courts with praise” (Psalm 100:4). God created all the earth for His praise. God told Job that when He laid the earth’s foundations, “the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy” (38:7). In the Old Testament, people brought burnt, grain, peace, and sin offerings to the temple for sacrifice and as an act of worship. In the New Testament, Jesus became the ultimate and final sin offering. Our forgiveness rests on God’s mercy and our faith in Jesus as Savior. We praise Him with our lives when we surrender moment by moment to the Spirit’s guidance. Whether we’re working, eating, or resting, when we do it all for His glory, it becomes worship. So whatever we do, “whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17).
Read: Psalm 100; Luke 19:37-40; Romans 12:1-2
Devotions by Rivera Douthit