Tag Archives: what does the bible say about

Inputs Matter

Almost every measure of success has to do what some type of key performance indicator. People judge your success by how much money you make or how many items you sell. We brag about how many hours we work each week too. Somewhere along the way, we have also made busyness an indicator of success. The more busy you are, the more successful you must be. We’ve just about made busyness equal to godliness. Our constant for us is on what are we producing today. Because people measure us by our outputs, we focus solely on those, but how are your inputs?

Jesus was a busy person by all accounts. Thousands would come to Him to hear Him preach and to be healed. The Bible often says that He had compassion on them and healed them all. The output of His ministry was strong, but that is because He focused so much energy on His inputs. You constantly read where Jesus went alone to pray. He knew that if all He did was focus on His outputs, He would burn out and have nothing left to give. If He needed to replenish His innermost being, how much more do we? You can’t keep giving without putting anything back inside. Inputs matter.

Proverbs 4:23 says, “Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being, for from there flows the wellspring of life” (TPT). Your wellspring of life depends on you focusing on your inputs. Every one of us have different ways of recharging. For some, it’s solitude. For some, it’s going for a walk. Think of the times you feel most energized. What we’re you doing? Those are things that keep you going and need to be scheduled into your life regularly. Life drains everyone. We all must pay attention to our inner health if we’re going to be able to accomplish all God has for us. Jesus found the balance between being about His father’s business and recharging. So can you.

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God Loves You

Ever since we were children we’ve sang the song, “Jesus Loves Me This I Know”. It’s got a catchy tune, and to be honest, I hope it gets stuck in your head today. This timeless classic speaks an eternal truth that all of us need to know and remember. On a day where love is celebrated, I think it’s important to remember the greatest love of all – God’s love for you. While we give cards, chocolate and flowers to show our love, God gave us His one, and only Son. His gift to us was representative of the love He has for us, and it was done in order to restore our relationship to Him.

Today, there are many people in the world who feel unloved. Nothing could be farther from the truth. You are loved beyond measure, and by the only one who matters. Yes, it’s nice to have the love and affection of another human, but no human could love you as deeply or give you so generous as gift as God did. Plus, there is nothing in all of creation that could separate you from His love, nor is there anything you can do to make Him love you more or less. He loves you for who you are, so you don’t have to pretend to be someone else. While the world celebrates love today, we have an even greater reason to celebrate it. We are each loved by God, and that’s worth celebrating each and every day of the year.

Here are some Bible verses on God’s love for you.

1. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Romans 5:5 NLT

2. So now I live with the confidence that there is nothing in the universe with the power to separate us from God’s love. I’m convinced that his love will triumph over death, life’s troubles, fallen angels, or dark rulers in the heavens. There is nothing in our present or future circumstances that can weaken his love. There is no power above us or beneath us—no power that could ever be found in the universe that can distance us from God’s passionate love, which is lavished upon us through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One!

Romans 8:38-39 TPT

3. The one who does not love has not become acquainted with God [does not and never did know Him], for God is love. [He is the originator of love, and it is an enduring attribute of His nature.] By this the love of God was displayed in us, in that God has sent His [One and] only begotten Son [the One who is truly unique, the only One of His kind] into the world so that we might live through Him.

1 John 4:8-9 AMP

4. But God has shown us how much he loves us—it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us!

Romans 5:8 GNT

5. This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted…

John 3:16-18 MSG

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A Love That Endures

When we think of the story of Joseph and Mary, it’s usually not at Valentine’s Day. They’ve got Christmas and that’s about all we give them. However, when I think of love stories in the Bible, theirs always comes to mind. Theirs wasn’t a fairy tale love, it was real. It showed that love endures hard times and difficult situations. We don’t know a lot about their story, but the parts that we do know show that their love survived what could have been a disastrous occasion.

Imagine being engaged to someone and then you seemingly found proof that they were cheating on you. What happens next? For most of us, we make a public scene and try as hard as we can to embarrass the other person because we want them to hurt as bad as we do. Joseph didn’t have that same attitude when he found out that Mary was pregnant. He knew it wasn’t his because they planned to be virgins until their wedding. Instead of blowing up and taking out his hurt on her, he let love lead the way.

In Matthew 1:19, we read, “Joseph, chagrined but noble, determined to take care of things quietly so Mary would not be disgraced.” In the Message Bible, one of the ways it describes love in I Corinthians 13 is, “Love doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others.” Joseph demonstrated this kind of love towards Mary. He didn’t act the way he could have acted because he truly loved her and acted out of love even when he was hurt.

A love that endures doesn’t fly off the handle when it thinks it’s been wronged. It follows what we read in I Corinthians 13. It acts selflessly and always look for the best in others. We shouldn’t be so quick to fly off the handle at those we love. We should be extending them the grace we expect. We can learn a lot from a young couple who had the biggest responsibility and pressures of any parents ever. They had a love that lasted because they understood how to act out of love when things got difficult. It’s a great example that we should follow.

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Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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Transformed By The Bible

Have you ever boiled water? I know it’s a silly question, but if you have, you have added things to it. Think about what happens when you put a carrot in boiling water. What happens? After a little while, the carrot gets soft. What happens when you put an egg in boiling water? It becomes hard of course. Water has two different effects on those objects. Now, what happens when you add ground up coffee beans to boiling water? You get coffee. The difference here is that the water doesn’t change the coffee beans, the beans change the water into something different. There are many things in life that you have the power to change, but there are also things that you allow into your life that change you.

One of the things that changes us is the Bible. The more you read it and put it into your mind, the more it has the ability to change you. If you want it to get into your heart and permeate your entire being, then you need to go beyond reading it. You need to meditate on it. Meditating on God’s Word is simply taking a verse or passage and thinking, “What does this really mean? What is God wanting me to learn from this? Why did He include this in the Bible? How can I apply this to my life? How would things change if I lived this out? How can I help others understand this better and help them to apply it?” Asking these questions helps you break down powerful spiritual principles into bite sized chunks. It also allows God’s Word to get into every area of your being fundamentally changing who you are from the inside out.

Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the [spoken] word of Christ have its home within you [dwelling in your heart and mind—permeating every aspect of your being] as you teach [spiritual things] and admonish and train one another with all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (AMP). Reading the Bible should not be considered a box we need to check in order to be a better Christian. It should be part of your transformation into a new creature. It gives us wisdom in how to live our lives, love others and to build up other believers. It is the foundation for the life we’re called to live. When we let it have its home in us and in our minds, it will change us into overcomes.

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Make Today Count

Back in 2005, I started a job as a sales rep for a Fortune 15 company. I was new to the industry and to using a POS system. My boss paired me with one of the reps to shadow. One morning, we both were on the opening shift. While customers lined up outside waiting to get in, he grabbed the intercom and started speaking in a slow, one word at a time, drawn out pace. He said, “Folkssss, each day is a gift. Today, you’ve been given another opportunity to make a difference in someone else’s life. You can choose to make a difference in your life or in someone else’s life. You get to choose. Make today count.” I later figured out that each time he opened, he would do something like this as a means to motivate himself and others.

Ephesians 5:15-16 says, “So be very careful how you live, not being like those with no understanding, but live honorably with true wisdom, for we are living in evil times. Take full advantage of every day as you spend your life for his purposes” (TPT). None of us are guaranteed tomorrow, or even the rest of today. Most of us interact with different people throughout the day whether in person, on the phone or through social media. Are we thinking about what our lives say to others? Are we a positive in their day or a negative? Are we a blessing when we show up or a blessing to them when the interaction is done? Are we seeking to make our life better or the lives of others?

Paul is very clear here that you and I are to take advantage of each and every day whether we feel like it or not. If we are living our lives for His purposes, which by the way is your life’s purpose, then we do it no matter what our feelings tell us. His Kingdom is more important than our feelings. Jesus told us to seek His Kingdom first, and when we did, all the other things we seek will be added to us. If we’re going to make today count and take advantage of each and every day, we’re going to have to seek to do His will before we seek to do our own. His will is that none would be lost, and He choose you and I to be the ones to make sure that happens. Our lives should be lived so that others see our good works and lives and glorify our Father in Heaven. Live your life on purpose today taking advantage of each opportunity He gives you to be a blessing to others.

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Doing Your Part

Years ago I would lead mission trips to Haiti not long after the earthquake. Before we would leave, I would talk to the team about what they could expect. I would remind them that it is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and their infrastructure was destroyed. No matter where you looked there were needs that needed to be met. There was person after person whose story would break your heart. Then I would tell them that our job was to go in and do xyz. We needed to pick up the football where the last group set it down, then we would run with it as far as we could and set it down. If we tried to do everything and meet every need, we wouldn’t accomplish much. Helping them understand our part was key to being the most productive and accomplishing the most good.

In 1 Chronicles, David looked at his palace one day and noticed how nice it was. He then thought of the Tabernacle, a tent that housed the Ark of the Covenant. He wondered why he lived in such a nice place while God was placed in a tent. He asked the prophet to ask God for permission to build a temple, but God refused to allow David to build it. Instead, his son Solomon was picked to build it. Instead of sulking because he wasn’t going to build it, he started gathering all the supplies necessary to build it so Solomon wouldn’t spend years getting ready. After he was finished, he brought Solomon and the leaders over and showed them everything. Then in 1 Chronicles 22:18 he said, “My part in this was to put down the enemies, subdue the land to GOD and his people; your part is to give yourselves, heart and soul, to praying to your GOD. So get moving—build the sacred house of worship to GOD!” (MSG)

You were designed and created on purpose and with a purpose. There is a part for you to play in building God’s Kingdom. Don’t get distracted looking at what other people are doing. Seek God for what your part is, then do it with all your might. Understand that the work will not be completed until Jesus returns. Pick up the football wherever it is, and run with it as far as you can until you can’t go anymore. Don’t get distracted and worry about whether or not other people are doing their parts. That’s between them and God. Your part is to what God has called you to do with all your strength. Understand that your part is also a thread woven into the masterpiece God is creating. Do your part, and do it well so that when you arrive in Heaven you’ll hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

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Opening Doors

Life can seem like a series of doors that you have to walk through. Some are open and some are closed. Sometimes you walk through an open door only to find a closed door behind it. That’s always frustrating to me. Does that mean I shouldn’t have walked through the open door? Am I in the wrong place? Should I turn around and look elsewhere? I don’t think so. Jesus told us to knock and the door would be opened. Jesus also told the story of a person who had a visitor show up in the middle of the night. He didn’t have any food, so he went to his neighbor’s house and knocked on the door. There man told him it was locked and that were in bed. The first man kept knocking until the other person came and opened the door to give him what he wanted.

When you’ve walked through an open door that God has led you through only to find a closed door, don’t panic and turn around. Knocking on closed doors is a faith builder and a prayer enabler. If you’ve knocked a while and nothing has happened, ask God to show you if you need to keep knocking or to open your eyes to see an open door you’re not seeing. God is in the habit of opening doors for us, and the doors He open can be shut by anyone. He has ordered our steps and leads us in His paths, but that requires that you and I are willing to move from where we are to where He’s taking us. As He opens doors, you and I must walk through them. I like to pray, “God, close the doors I’m not supposed to walk through, and lead me to the open doors you have for me.”

Here are some Bible verses on open doors.

1. Strive to enter through the narrow door [force aside unbelief and the attractions of sin]; for many, I tell you, will try to enter [by their own works] and will not be able.

Luke 13:24 AMP

2. Here’s what I’m saying: Ask and you’ll get; Seek and you’ll find; Knock and the door will open.

Luke 11:9 MSG

3. There is a wide-open door for a great work here, although many oppose me.

1 Corinthians 16:9 NLT

4. To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: “This is the message from the one who is holy and true. He has the key that belonged to David, and when he opens a door, no one can close it, and when he closes it, no one can open it. I know what you do; I know that you have a little power; you have followed my teaching and have been faithful to me. I have opened a door in front of you, which no one can close.”

Revelation 3:7-8 GNT

5. For everyone who keeps on asking [persistently], receives; and he who keeps on seeking [persistently], finds; and to him who keeps on knocking [persistently], the door will be opened.

Luke 11:10 AMP

Thanks to @roanlavery for making this photo available freely on @unsplash

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