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Being Great

One of the best Christian books I’ve read is “Good to Great In God’s Eyes” by Chip Ingram. It starts off asking the question, “Is it really wrong to want to be great?” As a Christian, we’re taught to be humble, but somehow we’ve equated being humble with being average. It’s as if you can’t be great and humble at the same time. I don’t want to live an average life, and I don’t believe we were created to either. The words from Jim Collins book, “Good to Great”, spoke to my soul when he wrote, “Good is the enemy of great.” How often do we settle for good when God has created us for great things? How often have we felt ashamed for wanting to be great?

When the disciples asked Jesus about who would be the greatest, He didn’t chastise them. He simply explained that greatness in His kingdom isn’t measured the same way it is in our world. He put the desire in you to be great, and even gave us the Great Commission as our mission. You can’t have the impact on the world that you’re called to have and not be great. The difference is that in His kingdom, greatness comes from serving others and helping them reach their God-given potential. It’s about magnifying His name instead of our own. If you truly want to be great in God’s kingdom, then you’re going to have to be disciplined and do things that make an impact on eternity.

Here are some Bible verses on being great in God’s kingdom.

1. So whoever breaks one of the least [important] of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least [important] in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever practices and teaches them, he will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:19 AMP

2. But this is not your calling. You will lead by a completely different model. The greatest one among you will live as the one who is called to serve others, because the greatest honor and authority is reserved for the one with the heart of a servant.

Matthew 20:26-27 TPT

3. Whoever makes himself great will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be made great.

Matthew 23:12 GNT

4. The silence was deafening—they had been arguing with one another over who among them was greatest. He sat down and summoned the Twelve. “So you want first place? Then take the last place. Be the servant of all.”

Mark 9:34-35 MSG

5. But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.

Matthew 19:30 NLT

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Knowing What’s Important

One of the things we all do is to try to prioritize what is important in our lives. Whether we know it or not, we make time for the things that are important to us. Knowing what is the most important thing helps guide our decision making process. Because we want our lives to matter, we seek to do things that are important to us and others. As I pray and think about what to write in these devotionals each day, I ask the question, “What is the most important thing I want anyone who reads this to walk away with?” I want to bring value to lives that place a high importance on their relationship with God.

The Bible has a lot to say about what is important and what is not. Oddly enough, God’s definition of what is important is usually different than ours. We usually look at value from an external point of view and God looks at it from an eternal one. A good question to ask as we prioritize is, “What difference will this make on eternity?” The greater the difference, the greater importance we should place on it. I understand that not everything we do has an impact on eternity, but when we frame our decisions that way, it helps us bring things that we do into perspective so we can know what is truly important.

Here are some Bible verses on knowing what’s important.

1. The Lord answered her, “Martha, my beloved Martha. Why are you upset and troubled, pulled away by all these many distractions? Are they really that important? Mary has discovered the one thing most important by choosing to sit at my feet. She is undistracted, and I won’t take this privilege from her.”

Luke 10:41-42 TPT

2. “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Matthew 22:36-39 NLT

3. All I’m doing right now, friends, is showing how these things pertain to Apollos and me so that you will learn restraint and not rush into making judgments without knowing all the facts. It’s important to look at things from God’s point of view. I would rather not see you inflating or deflating reputations based on mere hearsay.

1 Corinthians 4:6 MSG

4. But this is not how it is among you; instead, whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant.

Mark 10:43 AMP

5. He must become more important while I become less important.

John 3:30 GNT

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Being Workers In God’s Kingdom

I’ve been in the workforce for almost 30 years now and have worked for several companies. No matter where I’ve worked there have been some hard workers who go above and beyond. There have also been some workers who were doing the bare minimum just to collect a check. Then there were those who did their job and nothing more. I’ve heard of an 80/20 Rule that states 80% of the work is done by 20% of the workers. I don’t know how accurate that is, but I’d have to say it’s pretty close based on what I’ve seen. Most workers find excuses not to work hard. They don’t like their boss. They don’t believe in the company’s mission. They’re on,y doing this until something better comes along. Those attitudes are reflected in their work.

There are several times in the Bible that you and I are referred to as workers in God’s Kingdom. I wonder if we allow those same attitudes to affect how we work for the Lord. Are we doing the bare minimum of what’s required of us? Do we care about the souls of other people? Are we doing things that impact the lives of those around us or just our own life? Have we as Christians succumbed to the 80/20 Rule? In one Parable, Jesus spoke of the need to keep going out and getting workers all throughout the day. There is much work to be done for His Kingdom, but the workers are few. We each need to be asking Him to show us what needs to be done, and to offer ourselves to His service.

Here are some Bible verses on being a worker.

1. Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.

2 Timothy 2:15 NLT

2. Give a bonus to leaders who do a good job, especially the ones who work hard at preaching and teaching. Scripture tells us, “Don’t muzzle a working ox” and “A worker deserves his pay.”

1 Timothy 5:17-18 MSG

3. Heal the sick, bring the dead back to life, heal those who suffer from dreaded skin diseases, and drive out demons. You have received without paying, so give without being paid. Do not carry any gold, silver, or copper money in your pockets; do not carry a beggar’s bag for the trip or an extra shirt or shoes or a walking stick. Workers should be given what they need.

Matthew 10:8-10 GNT

4. For we are God’s fellow workers [His servants working together]; you are God’s cultivated field [His garden, His vineyard], God’s building.

1 Corinthians 3:9 AMP

5. He released them with these instructions: “The harvest is huge and ripe. But there are not enough harvesters to bring it all in. As you go, plead with the Owner of the Harvest to drive out into his harvest fields many more workers.”

Luke 10:2 TPT

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Childlike Faith

If you’ve ever had young children, you know that the younger they are, the more innocent they are. They never compare themselves to other children. They don’t worry about food and clothing. They get along well with other kids from the moment they meet. They’re moldable and are always learning. They don’t question their parent’s motives. They trust their parents enough to jump from just about anywhere. As they get older and around other kids, they begin to lose a lot of these qualities. Different things happen, fear creeps in and they begin to lose the trust in people. It’s a sad transformation in a way. My wife and I have tried hard to protect our son’s innocence as long as we can because we know how important these qualities are for even adults to have.

Think of how many times Jesus told us to have childlike faith. These are the qualities He wants us to have. We need to trust our Heavenly Father without doubt or worry. We need to be open to being shaped by Him so that we can become the people He intended for us to become. It’s hard to have faith when you’re fearful and jaded. All these qualities that we gain through the years are often the things that hold us back from having the relationship with Him that He seeks to have with us. Even though life has happened to us and we aren’t the same as we were when we were children, we can still have childlike faith and trust in Him. It requires us to let go of past pain, disappointment and failures of authority figures in our life. We can’t compare or project other people’s qualities onto God. Childlike faith trusts Him no matter what.

Here are some Bible verses on childlike faith.

1. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

MATTHEW 18:4 AMP

2. I assure you and most solemnly say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God [with faith and humility] like a child will not enter it at all.

LUKE 18:17 AMP

3. This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children.

Romans 8:15-16 MSG

4. So I’ve learned from my experience that God protects the childlike and humble ones. For I was broken and brought low, but he answered me and came to my rescue!

Psalms 116:6 TPT

5. At that time Jesus prayed this prayer: “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike.

Matthew 11:25 NLT

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Being Humble

One of the things my son has been into for about five years is the solar system and space. As I write this, there are three different homemade solar systems on the floor of my office that he has made depicting the different sizes of the planets. Some of his favorite videos are those that line the planets up from smallest to greatest and then the start bringing in stars. It’s not long into the video before earth and then our sun are no longer visible compared to the other stars in the universe. When you put things in that perspective, it’s humbling to think about how small we truly are in comparison to God’s creation. It’s also humbling to think that a universe that size exists in Him.

If we love our lives comparing ourselves to the things we’ve done or that are around us, pride can set in. We can look at our accomplishments and think we’ve done great things. It’s when we look outward to what God has done that we realize how small our accomplishments are. All throughout the Bible God speaks to us about the importance of being humble. I think what He’s really asking us to do is to keep our eyes fixed on Him instead of ourselves. When we are looking at His greatness and our own unworthiness of His gifts to us, we find the humility He wants us to have. As we bring our own weaknesses into focus, we begin to see His all sufficient grace that empowers us to do His will. Nothing we accomplish is of our own accord. It’s all through His strength, His provision and His direction. When we look at things that way, we will stay humble.

Here are some Bible verses on being humble.

1. If you return to the Almighty [and submit and humble yourself before Him], you will be built up [and restored].

JOB 22:23 AMP

2. Be always humble, gentle, and patient. Show your love by being tolerant with one another.

Ephesians 4:2 GNT

3. Remember this: If you have a lofty opinion of yourself and seek to be honored, you will be humbled. But if you have a modest opinion of yourself and choose to humble yourself, you will be honored.

Matthew 23:12 TPT

4. God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth.

Matthew 5:5 NLT

5. Humble yourselves [with an attitude of repentance and insignificance] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will lift you up, He will give you purpose].

JAMES 4:10 AMP

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Trusting God’s Promises

From the time we’re little, we learned to ask the question, “Do you promise?” Why do we do that when someone tells us something? Because we want to make sure they follow through on their word. When I was a kid, you had to cross your heart and hope to die or stick a needle in your eye if you didn’t keep it. These guarantees gave validity to the other person that you were going to keep your word no matter what. You learned at an early age that if you go back on a promise, then others won’t trust anything you say. When you broke a promise, you had to either find new friends or find a way to rebuild the trust you had lost. Making and trusting promises are a character building part of growing up.

Merriam Webster defines promise as, “A legally binding declaration that gives the person to whom it is made a right to expect or to claim the performance of a specified act.” When I think of that combined with the promises of God, it builds my faith. I have a right to expect God to do what He promised in the Bible. In fact, I’ve read that there are over 3,000 promises from God in the Bible, and many are made to me and you. If God promised something to you and I, we can know and trust that He will do it no matter what. He has never broken a promise and He’s not going to start breaking them now. Hold onto them, trust them and build your life on them because you can count on them.

Here are some Bible verses on trusting God’s promises.

1. But the humble of heart will inherit every promise and enjoy abundant peace.

Psalms 37:11 TPT

2. The believer replied, “Every promise of God proves true; he protects everyone who runs to him for help. So don’t second-guess him; he might take you to task and show up your lies.”

Proverbs 30:5-6 MSG

3. Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous.

Romans 4:20-22 NLT

4. The words and promises of the LORD are pure words, Like silver refined in an earthen furnace, purified seven times.

PSALMS 12:6 AMP

5. Let your broken heart show your sorrow; tearing your clothes is not enough. Come back to the Lord your God. He is kind and full of mercy; he is patient and keeps his promise; he is always ready to forgive and not punish.

Joel 2:13 GNT

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Be Ye Kind

One of the Fruits of the Spirit that seems to be ever diminishing in our world today is kindness. With having placed an importance on other fruits, the ability to be friendly, generous and considerate to others, especially those we disagree with, has escaped us. Instead, many of us have adopted the “kill or be killed” attitude as a defense mechanism. That’s the opposite of what Jesus taught. He told us to love our enemies, and to do good to them expecting nothing in return. We are not to repay evil for evil, but are to be kind to even those who are against us. Why? Because we are a reflection of the Father, and the Bible says that it’s God’s kindness that leads us (and our enemies) to repentance.

Jesus even told the Parable of the Good Samaritan. It was the Samaritan who was honored in the story because he showed kindness to his neighbor. If we are on,y being kind to those who like us, how are we any different than the world? The great news is that Holy Spirit is at work in your life. Ask Him to plant seeds of kindness in your heart so He can produce that fruit. Each of us can stand to be more kind to others. In today’s world, that would really cause us to stand out, but it would also help us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Kindness matters, and so do the eternal destiny of every person around you. God’s desire is that none would perish, so let’s show His kindness to everyone we meet.

Here are some Bible verses on kindness.

1. But instead be kind and affectionate toward one another. Has God graciously forgiven you? Then graciously forgive one another in the depths of Christ’s love.

Ephesians 4:32 TPT

2. This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Judge fairly, and show mercy and kindness to one another.

Zechariah 7:9 NLT

3. But I say to you who hear [Me and pay attention to My words]: Love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies, [make it a practice to] do good to those who hate you, bless and show kindness to those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

LUKE 6:27-28 AMP

4. By our purity, knowledge, patience, and kindness we have shown ourselves to be God’s servants—by the Holy Spirit, by our true love, by our message of truth, and by the power of God. We have righteousness as our weapon, both to attack and to defend ourselves.

2 Corinthians 6:6-7 GNT

5. Let love and kindness be the motivation behind all that you do.

1 Corinthians 16:14 TPT

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