Created to be Salt & Light: Day 2

Week 7 - Created to be Salt & Light      

     Day 2: Making Life Taste Better

Today, there’s a lot of stuff we can put in our food to make it taste better. Salt and pepper are pretty standard. But we also have sugar. And fat. And don’t forget what may be the healthiest of them all…potassium benzoate! (Just kidding, of course.)

But in Ancient Israel, there were very few options. The primary go-to for food seasoning was salt. While salt adds quite a bit of flavor to any food, Jesus noted that if it loses it’s saltiness, it’s of no real value. But anyone who has spent time in the kitchen will tell you that if just the right amount of salt is added, its own flavor will also bring out the best flavor from the food. For those at the feast, it’s a win-win for everybody. 

Maybe one of the things Jesus was trying to teach His followers about being salt is that He desires us to bring out the best in others. And by bringing out the best in others, maybe life itself will taste better, not only for us, but also for those we interact with on a regular basis. 

As you read today, consider this: How will you encourage and bring out the best in others throughout the remainder of this week? 

READING:

     GALATIANS 6:1-3, PHILIPPIANS 2:1-4

How will you encourage and bring out the best in others throughout the remainder of this week?

How can others encourage and bring out the best in you throughout the remainder of this week? Is it possible God is inviting you to reach out and ask somebody to help or encourage you?

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

Read: Exodus 10-11

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today? HEAR Bible Study Method

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I want to begin today by thinking of a few people who have helped to bring out the best in me. Specifically, I thank you for bringing (name of person), (name of person), and (name of person) into my life. Their encouragement has impacted me in so many ways, and I thank You for bringing them into my life. Today, I simply pray for opportunities to bring out the best in others, and that You provide me the wisdom to know how to encourage them. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

 

Click here if you would like to provide feedback to help us make the daily devotional and scripture reading guide even better.

 

Created to be Salt & Light: Day 1

Week 7 - Created to be Salt & Light      

       Day 1: Salt & Light

Chapters 5 – 7 in the Gospel of Matthew are widely referred to as the Sermon on the Mount. While this ‘sermon’ likely contains quotes from several days of teachings, one Study Bible notes that some of the key points of Jesus’ sermon are that position, authority, and money, are not of significant value in the Kingdom of God. Instead, God is most interested in the hearts and minds of His people trusting Him.

For those who trust God, Jesus shares a profound reality:

“You are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world.”

Salt and Light are significant agents of change. Salt affects not just the taste of food, but also preserves it, helping it to last longer and continue to provide sustenance to those who need it. Similarly, light affects the world around it like nothing else. Even the smallest bit of light can make the depths of a pitch-black cavern visible.

Jesus’ teaching could not have been misunderstood by those who first heard it. They didn’t hear Him say, “You can be agents of change in this world.” Instead, they heard Him say, “You are agents of change in this world. In the ways that you have been changed by Me, go out and be that change in the lives of others!” As you read today, consider this: How has God uniquely created you to be an agent of change? 

READING:

     MATTHEW 5:13-16

How has God uniquely created you to be an agent of change in your family? Your job? Your school? 

What is one way you will commit to being an agent of change throughout the week? 

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

Read: Exodus 8-9

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today? HEAR Bible Study Method

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, today revealed to me that You haven’t just invited me to be an agent of change in this world. Instead, You have declared that I am an agent of change! Today, I humbly pray that You will reveal to me ways in which I can be an agent of change in my family. Reveal to me ways I can be an agent of change at work. Reveal to me ways I can be an agent of change in the lives of complete strangers I see at the gas station and grocery store. You have been the ultimate agent of change in my life, and have called me to be the same in the lives of others. As I see these positive changes unfold around me, may I give You the glory for it all. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

 

Click here if you would like to provide feedback to help us make the daily devotional and scripture reading guide even better.

 

Created to be a Royal Priest: Day 5

Week 6 - Created to be a Royal Priest      

    Day 5: CREATED TO BE A ROYAL PRIEST

READING: EPHESIANS 4:11-16, GALATIANS 2:20

In what ways do you think that using our spiritual gifts and serving others can bring unity to God’s people?

Have you ever had somebody speak the truth to you, in love? What kind of impact did that have on you?

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

Read: Exodus 6-7

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today? HEAR Bible Study Method

 

Click here if you would like to provide feedback to help us make the daily devotional and scripture reading guide even better.

 

 

Created to be a Royal Priest: Day 4

Week 6 - Created to be a Royal Priest      

    Day 4: Real Purpose

Always being prepared to provide an answer for the hope that we have is a challenge. It requires us to dig deep, to look within ourselves to fully understand who God is, who we are, and who He has called each of us to be. Still, it can be quite overwhelming. 

As an example, some may say, “I’d love to always be prepared to provide an answer for the hope that I have. But I don’t feel like God has provided me with what I need to do that. To be honest, I’m not sure He has given me any specific purpose to fulfill.”

If that’s you, be encouraged that you’re not the only one! But also be encouraged that the Scriptures confirm that as a follower of Jesus, God has provided you with spiritual gifts. The purpose of these gifts is to lift up and encourage others – both Christians and non-Christians alike. 

Maybe the purpose God is inviting you to fulfill is to find simple ways to get started in the process. For example, maybe you can begin each day by praying, “God, today I ask that You provide me an opportunity to minister to somebody else, in as simple or as large a way as You lead me.” As you read today, consider this: Do you regularly pray for opportunities to minister to others? Would you be willing to commit to doing so over the next week?

READING:

     ROMANS 12:3-8

Do you regularly pray for opportunities to minister to others? Would you be willing to commit to doing so over the next week?

God has provided you the opportunity to live each day with a Real Purpose. On your own, find at least three Scripture passages that say something about who God is inviting you to be and/or how He is inviting you to minister to others. Share the verses you discover with at least one other person. 

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

Read: Exodus 4-5

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today? HEAR Bible Study Method

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I confess that sometimes when I’m challenged to find a Scripture passage on a certain topic, I’m tempted to go online in order to quickly discover the answer. Perhaps You’re not looking for a quick answer, but are instead more interested in the process of me growing to know You. Perhaps you simply want me to know You instead of seeing what Google knows about You. Today, my desire is to read Your word, pause, and truly reflect on who You are. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

 

Click here if you would like to provide feedback to help us make the daily devotional and scripture reading guide even better.

 

Created to be a Royal Priest: Day 3

Week 6 - Created to be a Royal Priest      

     Day 3: Sharing God’s Word

Imagine for a moment that you have a friend, colleague, or family member who begins to ask you some questions about your faith. They may begin by saying something like, “You or your family seems a bit different than others I know.” But then they go on to ask a few questions:

  • You seem to live like everything matters. Everything is important. Every person is significant. Why is that? 
  • What exactly does it mean to trust God? Or to place your faith in Christ and to be a Christian? Or maybe, what exactly is the gospel? Can you explain it to me? 
  • My marriage is crumbling, and you’re one of the few people I know who has a strong marriage. What does the Bible say about marriage, and can you help me to see my marriage differently? 

In that moment you’re left with a choice. You may respond by saying, “Wow, those are great questions for my pastor, or my priest. Let me get you their number.” Or you may recognize that God has invited you to share His Word with them in order to help you both to grow. As you read today, consider this: How would you respond if somebody asked you these kinds of questions?

READING:

     1 PETER 3:15 

How would you respond if somebody asked you the kinds of questions listed in today’s devotional? 

Does 1 Peter 3:15 impact how you would think about answering these kinds of questions? 

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

Read: Exodus 2-3

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today? HEAR Bible Study Method

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I confess that while my inadequacies sometimes interfere with my desire to minister to others, these same inadequacies go to a whole new level when I think about sharing about Your Word, Your grace, and Your lovingkindness with others. Today, instead of praying that You provide me with the confidence to share Your word with others, I simply pray that You will reveal to me more of who You are so that I may know You better. May the box I sometimes put you in be shattered so that I can see and know You for who You really are. By truly knowing You, may my confidence to share more about You and Your word increase beyond measure. I pray these things in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

 

Click here if you would like to provide feedback to help us make the daily devotional and scripture reading guide even better.

 

Created to be a Royal Priest: Day 2

Week 6 - Created to be a Royal Priest

             Day 2: Everybody a Minister

Daily reminding ourselves that we have been ‘set apart’ is something that can have a huge impact in how we see ourselves. But there’s still a bit of a mindset in our culture that pastors, bishops, priests, or others are the only ones who have been set apart. It is they who have been called to minister to others.

But the Scriptures paint a different picture. In the years after Jesus’ death and resurrection, one of his disciples, Peter, wrote a letter to many Christians who were experiencing persecution under the Roman Emperor. In his letter, Peter wrote, “…for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.” 

Peter didn’t write this to remove himself from the responsibility he had as the leader of all of the churches in his day. Instead, he wrote it as an encouragement to the people. He wrote it to remind them that they had been set apart. He wrote it to let them know they could see themselves as Priests. He wrote it so they could understand a powerful truth: they had the strength, wisdom, and courage to minister to others in the same way Peter could. As you read today, consider this: In what ways is God inviting you to minister to others? 

READING:

     1 PETER 2:9, 1 PETER 4:10

Do you ever find yourself looking for ways to minister to others?

Of all of the current priorities in your life (family, work, sports, etc.), how high is your priority to love, serve, and minister to others? 

In what ways may God be inviting you to minister to others? (Are there any commitments in your life you can lessen so that you have more opportunities to serve and minister to others?)

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

Read: Genesis 50 – Exodus 1

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today? HEAR Bible Study Method

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I confess that there are times when I do not look for ways to minister to others. There are times when I’m not intentional about encouraging others and loving them in the same ways You love me. But I rejoice in knowing that despite some of these past mistakes, You’re still constantly inviting me to minister to others. Reveal to me some commitments I can give up so I may better fulfill Your will. And today, provide me an opportunity to minister to somebody in an unexpected way. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Click here if you would like to provide feedback to help us make the daily devotional and scripture reading guide even better.

 

Created to be a Royal Priest: Day 1

Week 6 - Created to be a Royal Priest

         Day 1: Set Apart

In the Old Testament, the position of Priesthood was reserved to a small, select group of people. Their role was to represent the people to God, as well as to oversee the sacrifices the people brought to God. 

While the sacrificial system used in those ancient times may seem strange to us, to them, it made sense that there would be a small group of Priests who oversaw the requirements and spoke to God on their behalf. All in all, the concept of Priesthood could be understood in this way: Priests were set apart. Their commitment was intense, their lifestyles were different, and the regulations they needed to follow were rigorous. In other words, they were a special group of people.

But in the New Testament, the author of Hebrews tells us that Jesus completely changed how we should view the Priesthood. It tells us that Jesus now speaks to God on our behalf. That He has taken on the role of High Priest. That He does not need to offer sacrifices every day for the people, because He Himself was the final sacrifice. Even more so, it tells us that we have been set apart by placing our faith in Him. As you read today, consider this: What is the first thought that comes to mind when you hear that you have been ‘set apart?’

READING:

     HEBREWS 7:23-28, EPHESIANS 2:10

What is the first thought that comes to mind when you hear that you have been ‘set apart?’

Have you ever thought that the Christian life isn’t about making  sacrifices, but is simply about becoming the person God has created you to be? 

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

Read: Genesis 48-49

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today? HEAR Bible Study Method

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I confess that while it’s sometimes challenging to remember that You have called me Your child, Your friend, and a saint, it can be more difficult to remember that You see me as a royal priest. Today, I bring to You my worries, hurts, anxieties, fears, and every other inadequacy that weighs me down. Instead of holding onto the things that only bring darkness into my life, I invite You to reveal to me at least one answer to the questions: Who is God inviting me to be, and what are some healthy practices I can put into place in my journey to become that person? I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.  

 

Click here if you would like to provide feedback to help us make the daily devotional and scripture reading guide even better.

 

Created to be a Child of God: Day 5

Week 5 - Created to be a Child of God

    DAY 5: CREATED TO BE A CHILD OF GOD

READING: PSALM 86:5, 1 JOHN 4:7-8

How would you communicate to somebody who has never heard the gospel the meaning of 1 John 4:7-8?

What did you learn about yourself this week?

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

Read: Genesis 46-47

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today? HEAR Bible Study Method

 

Click here if you would like to provide feedback to help us make the daily devotional and scripture reading guide even better.

 

 

Created to be a Child of God: Day 4

Week 5 - Created to be a Child of God

     Day 4: I Like Being With You

It’s pretty hard to think about, but before He came to earth, Jesus had everything. After having created the heavens and the earth, Jesus sat in the presence of God the Father and simply enjoyed ongoing friendship and fellowship with Him. Everything in His life and everything about his environment and circumstances was perfect. 

But the world had a problem – a sin problem. 

Jesus could have remained right where He was. He could have remained in heaven. He could have remained in a perfect world. But he chose to leave that world in order to be with us.

Matthew 1:23 reads, ““Look! The virgin will conceive a child!

She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’”

You see, Jesus left behind a perfect world because He wanted to be with us. To make it even more personal, Jesus chose to leave behind the comfort of heaven to be with you. It’s almost as if Jesus was saying, “I like being with you so much, I’m going to do everything in my power to be with you!”

As you read today, consider this: Do you struggle to believe that Jesus likes being with you? If so, why do you think that is? 

READING:

     PHILIPPIANS 2:5-8, ROMANS 8:38-39, ZEPHANIAH 3:17

Do you struggle to believe that Jesus likes being with you? If so, why do you think that is? 

Zephaniah 3:17 reads, “He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” Does this passage in any way impact your view of God? Your understanding of how God sees you? Explain.

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

Read: Genesis 44-45

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today? HEAR Bible Study Method

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I confess today that the passage from Zephaniah 3:17 has revealed to me something about who You are that I don’t often think about. It reveals that You truly do enjoy being with me. It reveals that no matter what poor decisions I may have made in the past, You are there, and You continually rejoice over me because You see me as the person You have created me to be. Continue to reveal to me and those around me the purpose You have for my life, and provide me the wisdom and courage to freely fulfill that purpose. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

 

Click here if you would like to provide feedback to help us make the daily devotional and scripture reading guide even better.

 

Created to be a Child of God: Day 3

Week 5 - Created to be a Child of God

     Day 3: You Are a Saint

The Scriptures are full of statements that have challenged all of humanity for generations. For example, the Bible reveals to us the ugliness of sin and the impact it has in our lives. Romans 3:23 reveals that “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” While sin is a reality in all of our lives, God doesn’t always want us to view ourselves as ‘less than,’ ‘ugly,’ or ‘insignificant.’ In fact, all throughout the New Testament, the Apostle Paul reminds those who are followers of Jesus that we are exactly the opposite – we are saints. While some translations read “God’s Holy people,” the meaning is the same. Some examples include: 

Romans 1:7 – To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints.

Ephesians 1:1 – Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are in Ephesus.

Philippians 1:1 – Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi.

1 Corinthians 1:2 – To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints. 

As you read today, consider this: Do you consider yourself to be a saint? Why or why not? 

READING:

     EPHESIANS 5:1-2

Why do you think the Apostle Paul began so many of his letters reminding those reading them that they are saints?

Do you consider yourself to be a saint? If not, what are some steps you can take this week to remind yourself that you are a saint? 

Is there a friend or loved one who can regularly remind you that you are a child of God? A friend of God? A saint? — Is it possible God is inviting you to be that voice in somebody else’s life? 

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

Read: Genesis 42-43

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today? HEAR Bible Study Method

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, thank you for not just calling me Your son or daughter, but you have also called me Your friend. Your friendship is constantly revealing to me the intentions and purpose of true friendship. Today, I invite you to reveal to me ways in which I sometimes use some of my friendships for my own gain. Help me to see these relationships in new ways. Help me to see these relationships in the same way You see me. I pray in the name of Jesus, my best friend. Amen. 

 

Click here if you would like to provide feedback to help us make the daily devotional and scripture reading guide even better.