January 21 Christianity Is Unique For reading & meditation: John 14:1-14 “No one comes to the Father except through me.” (v. 6)
We make the claim once again – Christianity is unique. It is unique in the sense that it is the divinely appointed way to enter into a relationship with the one true and living God. There is only one way, only one Name, only one God, only one Lord, only one Mediator. Our claim that Christianity is unique comes not from arrogance but from simple empirical fact. W. A. Visser’t Hooft, in his book No Other Name, says: “There is no universality if there is no unique event.” Uniqueness and universality go together. It is because God has exalted Jesus to the highest place in the universe, “far above all rule and authority,” and given Him the unique Name of “Lord,” that He towers over every other name. That, too, is the reason why every knee must bow to Him. And it is precisely because Jesus Christ is the only Savior that we are under an obligation to proclaim Him to as many as we possibly can. In whatever culture we live, we must endeavor to make Jesus known. We must set our face against the faction in today’s church that aims to modernize the gospel and says: “Let us recognize all religions as being authentic before God and seek not to convert people from their religion but encourage them to be better adherents of it.” Have these people no regard for the honor of Jesus Christ? Do they not care when Christ is seen as just one among many Saviors rather than, as God declares, the only Savior. No true Christian can ever worship Christ without minding that others do not.Prayer:Father, help me understand that it is not enough to know about the faith into which You have brought me by Your grace: I must seek also to share it. Help me grasp every opportunity that comes to make the way clear to others. In Jesus’ Name. Amen. For further study:Matthew 7:15-21; Acts 20:25-311. What did Jesus warn about?2. What was Paul’s charge to the Ephesian elders?
All of us have insatiable longings that can only be satisfied in communion with our heavenly Father. The longing to be enjoyed, fascinated, to gaze upon beauty, and to be someone great are driving forces within each of us. The longing to experience intimacy without shame, to be wholehearted, and to make a deep and lasting impact resound within each of us at the foundation of who we are. God created these longings knowing that they can only be fully satisfied in him—that they would be avenues to deeper relationship with him. As we look at each of these longings individually, I pray your heart would find its fulfillment in the loving nearness of your heavenly Father.
Scripture: “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” – Matthew 25:21
People often ask a common question when it looks like their time on earth is drawing to a close—”Did my life matter?” Have you ever wondered that? Have you ever taken a minute to look back on your life and wonder if all your efforts will mean a thing when you’re gone?
We all dream of being a great success. No children playing sports in their backyard fantasize about hanging up the towel after high school. They dream of making it pro. No musician dreams about playing to a handful of people. They see themselves on a massive stage in front of thousands of screaming fans. We all have a longing to make an impact in this world. We all desire to make a difference to the degree that we will be remembered when we’re gone.
God designed us all with this longing while having the perfect plan to satisfy it. The problem is that we have twisted what success really looks like. We’ve made success into something prideful—an idea constrained to the ways of this world. We’ve been living under the notion that making an impact is all about ourselves. You see, making a lasting impact doesn’t necessarily mean you’re known by the entire population, have books written about you, or are even a success at all in the eyes of the world. Success is solely defined by God and solely achieved by your faithfulness to whatever he has called you to. You are meant for the impact that faithfulness to God brings, not an impact wrought with struggle for achievement by the world’s standards.
The Bible clearly defines success as being faithful to what God has spoken. In Matthew 25:21 God says, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” Your desire to make an impact will only be satisfied by living in obedience to God’s will for you. It’s his plan we’re all a part of, not our own. God has brought us into the glorious narrative that has been playing out from the foundation of the earth. Being faithful to your page in God’s grand narrative has an eternal impact more important and long-lasting than anything you could achieve on your own. One day, all of the grand stories of what mankind has done in pursuit of our own glory will be brought to nothing. One King will stand above all. Jesus Christ will be given his reward, and we will reign alongside him forever.
Choose to make an impact for eternity today. Be faithful first to love God and then to love others with compassion and humility. You have a chance to lead people into eternal life. You have a chance to store up your treasure in heaven where moth and rust will not destroy (Matthew 6:19-20). You have a chance today to make a deep and lasting impact beyond anything you could imagine. Allow God to define your identity and purpose. Experience the joy and fulfillment that can only be found in wholehearted communion with your heavenly Father.
1. Take a moment to reflect on the life of Jesus.Allow what Scripture says about Jesus to establish a true definition of success.
“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:5-8
2. Take a moment to surrender your notion of success and impact, and center your life around God’s truth.
3. What plans does God have for you today? How can you love him and others well? In what way can you impact eternity?
Jesus is the perfect example of what it looks like to make a lasting impact because he was wholly surrendered to the will of the Father. At the end of his ministry, he had only a few followers that stood by him. He never wrote a book or even traveled more than a few hundred miles from where he was born. Rather than considering him successful, the world killed him. But he made the biggest impact of anyone in all of history. Live like Jesus today. Live solely for the opinion of God, and find your satisfaction in being faithful to what he has called you to. May your day be filled with the abundant life that comes from surrender to the perfect plans of God.
You are all together beautiful, my darling, and there is no blemish in you. Song of Solomon 4:7
When Debbie and I got married on March 15, 1986, we were so excited about starting our lives together as husband and wife. The first order of business after the wedding was the honeymoon. YES! I was so excited about the honeymoon. I think most brides dream about the wedding – and most grooms dream about the wedding night. It is just the way God made men and women.
Debbie and I got to go on two honeymoons. The first one was a short, two night stay in Galveston, TX. Debbie got sick the second night and threw up for hours. It was so romantic! The second one, a week later (Debbie taught school and her spring break was a week after our wedding), was in Monterrey, CA. We had so much fun. We walked on the beach, ate seafood while looking out at the Pacific, shopped (my least favorite thing), and talked and shared over a romantic fire each night. We did not want the week to end, and we definitely did not want the honeymoon to be over.
Now while it is true that no one can actually live on a perpetual honeymoon vacation, it is also true that the marital honeymoon does not have to end just because you come back home. God has designed marriage to be a wonderful experience of love and joy and fulfillment. Of course there are ups and downs. Of course there are adjustment times and hard times and sad times and mad times and AARRGGHH times! But if you go God’s way, those times can be overshadowed by the love and laughter.
It is sad to see so many marriages fail. It is tragic that many marriages within the church are distant and cold. The husband and wife co-exist as roommates, living separate lives with no closeness and little, if any, love. Typically, these couples stay together until they cannot stand it anymore. When they divorce, they create a whole new set of problems and hurts. It is sad. It is all too common, and it is totally avoidable IF YOU WILL START GOING GOD’S WAY.
Let me encourage you. If you are growing miserable in your marriage, the time is NOW to do something about it. The time is NOW to get some outside help. Reject the hellish idea that marriage counseling is only for wimps and losers. Marriage counseling is for people who are honest enough to say, “I need some help.” No one would think twice about going to the doctor because of a broken arm. Why would we think it degrading or distasteful to get help for a broken marriage?
There is a reason God had you read this e-mail. He wants to turn things around in your marriage. Will you trust Him to do so? Will you take that needed step of faith so that He can start a great work in you? Remember, Peter never would have walked on the water had he not gotten out of the boat!
Pastor Jeff Schreve, From His Heart Ministries
Dr. Jeff Schreve believes that no matter how badly you may have messed up in life, God still loves you and has a wonderful plan just for you. From His Heart provides real truth, love and hope on over 700 radio stations each day, in 182 countries each week on TV, and is always available online. Pastor Jeff takes no income from this ministry. All donations go to furthering the broadcast outreach. As a listener/viewer supported ministry, we thank you for joining with us to help speak the truth in love to a lost and hurting world. Go to www.fromhisheart.org for more information.
Growth and change are part of the Christian life. Are you moving forward with the Lord or have you become complacent and stagnant? In the Christian life you either grow and glow or dry and die. What is the next step for you? Maybe it’s baptism, spending more time in the Word, strengthening your prayer life, or seeking a spiritual mentor to guide you in your growth. Discover the next step for you with this series from Pastor Jeff Schreve.
January 21 A word to impulsive people Pastor Mike Novotny
The reformer Martin Luther once said, “All of us are either a Jacob or an Esau.” If you know the story of those twin brothers from Genesis chapters 25-32, you realize Luther was giving us a warning, not a compliment.
Jacob was that crafty momma’s boy who used his brain to outmatch his brother’s brawn. Esau was that impulsive hunter who could kill the beasts of the field but couldn’t kill his own impatience. Yet both brothers had this in common—they were impulsive. They were not willing to wait for God’s blessing at God’s time. They cut corners. They sinned.
The New Testament warns us about this kind of behavior: “See that no one is . . . godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son” (Hebrews 12:16). Don’t be like Esau and trade something as sacred as your character, your integrity, your clean conscience, or your spiritual inheritance for something as temporary as a bowl of soup.
The great deceiver will try to convince you that you need to sin. You need to. You can’t live without doing this or saying that. At the same time, the Spirit of Jesus (who is “the Truth”) will remind you that you can have a fulfilling, joy-saturated, good life with God, that everything is yours in Jesus Christ, your Savior. I pray you listen to the Spirit today and trust the patient path of God in a corner-cutting world.
Learn to seek GOD every day!
The Seeking GOD Every Day devotional helps you grow stronger in your walk with Jesus as you set out on a 365-day journey through God’s Word. Develop a fearless faith and focus more intently on God’s amazing plans for you!