MUSIC & FRIENDS TO START YOUR DAY!
Join David & Jess weekday mornings from 6a-10a on Spirit 92.9! It’s all about sharing stories and life in central Minnesota along with music to start your day on a positive note!
From August 1st through August 31st, we’re partnering with Casting Crowns to encourage you with Daily Devotionals based on the new song “THRIVE”! We’ll post each day’s devotion here . Weekend devotions will be posted on Fridays. You can also enter for a chance to WIN one of 31 copies of the new Casting Crowns CD HERE! CD Winners will be announced each morning at 8:50am.
Throughout Scripture, God approaches different people with the same message: “I know you have great plans for your life and some ideas about how you’re going to pull off your plans. But I have something else for you.”God didn’t explain away all the details. He didn’t curb the difficulties. He didn’t even say, “It’ll be a little awkward for a while. You’ll hit some rough patches. And you’re even going to hurt.” But he dreamed much bigger for his people than they ever dreamed. In story after story, God’s Word shows how faithful he is even to those most desperate and downtrodden.How we face the future and how we make decisions are based on what we believe about God and what we believe about ourselves. We can say God is in control, but our lives often suggest that we don’t totally buy it. God is not finished with you. Wherever you are right now, know this: Jesus loves you, and he will bring about his best for those who love him and want to thrive in him. Trust his dream for you.
God wants to renew our minds and redefine our ideas of who he is and who we are in him. We have fuzzy notions of God and we partially believe what we’ve read, heard, and sung about him.Yet despite our shortcomings, God has been patient and kind, long suffering and forgiving. Even when we take a wrong turn, he transforms it for our good. Love from other people doesn’t work that way. Jobs don’t work that way. Even spouses don’t work that way. We’ve let the world tell us what forgiveness means. We’ve let the job market define our skill sets. We’ve let the SAT or ACT define how smart we are. We let labels pigeonhole our beliefs about ourselves and shape our views. The antidote is God’s Word and prayer. We must learn to put all of our weight on Jesus, to dig deep into his Word and obey his nudges to reach out to others in his love. All the while, he will bide his time and work out his dream for us. All the while, he will teach us to thrive.
God’s existence and sovereignty are the most fundamental beliefs we can possess—the very core of our deepest roots. When we dig in to know God more, we tap into the infinity of his love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, power, and sovereignty. Nothing or no one is greater. He sees all, knows all, and controls all. Whatever happens in our lives, God either brings it or allows it for his good reasons, and Romans 8:28 says God does everything for his glory and for our ultimate good.Do we really trust God? Ephesians 2 says we were dead in our trespasses before he saved us. Dead people can’t do anything. God did it all. If we think that we did something to start our relationship with God, it’s only logical to think that we could do something to end it. We can either rest in our picture of God or be haunted by it. This passage helps us determine whether we have painted a biblical picture of God and of ourselves. There’s no better reason to study Scripture. It’s the only way to live a life that thrives.
Why is it that we feel closer to the Lord after we spend only one hour at church on Sunday? It’s because we took the time to pour into our new life. What if that devotion was a lifestyle rather than a trip to a building every week or two? All we did during that brief time was pour into our new life and starve our old life. We closed out the world and the distractions and opened up his Word, and in just one hour our perspective changed. Galatians 6:7 says, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” This is an irrefutable principle: When I sow to the Spirit, God’s Spirit begins to change my thinking, my tastes, my will, and my emotions. This is how I learn to walk in the assurance of God’s presence. This is how temptation that once enticed me now reeks to me. When I wage the battle of the heart and pour into my new life, new life will come out. And that’s when I begin to thrive.
Worship is taking God’s best and giving it back to him. This can happen in serving, in giving, in singing, and in admiring his majesty in creation. A butterfly can lead to tears of adoration of a holy God. The idea that citizens of Jerusalem lay palm branches and sang hosannas five days before they screamed, “Crucify him!” shows how quickly we can focus on ourselves. Worship is not praising the God you want. It’s praising the God who is. Worship is what we’re created for, and we’re never more at peace than when we’re doing what we’re created to do. But God didn’t give us worship because we have to remind him of how good he is. God knows he’s holy. He gave us worship as a gift so we can do what we’re created to do and enjoy community with him. A sign of spiritual maturity is when we show that we know the gift is to be given back. May our hearts spill with such gratitude that we’re never hesitant, never bashful to lift our voices to praise to one who gives us a thriving life.
The exhilarating roller coaster moments serve only to show where we are with God. As much as we think the high points shape us, they only reveal how we’ve attended to our spiritual lives to that point. It’s the same with our quiet times. We go into our quiet times wanting the earth to move. But it’s not about the roller coaster ride anymore. It’s just you and God, and you’re not in it for the buzz of an emotional experience. Think about your best friend. You’re not looking for an adventure every time you hang out with her. You just hang out and talk about nothing and you’re fine. Let’s aspire to be so intimate with the Lord.
He wants us out of the Word and into the mirror. If Satan can get us to focus on our circumstances and ourselves, he can mire us in numbing guilt and neutralize us.
Remind yourself of this truth: I may have tripped a thousand times and stumbled back into church a wretched mess, but every time, Jesus has waited on me. A song hit me. A verse pierced me. A prayer crushed my heart. In some way, God spoke to his wayward child.
Just when we’re starting to thrive, the Enemy will try to derail us. He’ll bring up our past. He’ll make us doubt our future. He’ll put obstacles in our way. He’ll even make us doubt whether all of this is real and whether we really belong to God.
Even when we do the worst we can possibly do, Jesus catches our gaze. And he says, “You don’t have to start again for me; I’ll start over with you.”
We usually only attribute things we consider to be “good” as God-given. Talents are God-given. Bodily attributes like strength, intelligence, and beauty are God-given. We seldom consider that God also gave us our needs—but he did. In fact, they’re gifts. It is a gift to want to be loved. Why else would we pursue and give love? It’s a gift to want to be needed. Why else would we reach out to others or fill voids? It’s a gift to feel the need for significance. Why else would we pursue excellence and God’s plan for our lives?
Yet we sabotage God’s intentions to meet our needs when we pursue our own answers and the world’s shortcuts. Those who wait on the Lord’s timing are the ones who mount on eagle’s wings. They are the ones who thrive.
You may have heard someone say, “I tried Jesus, but it didn’t work.” But Jesus isn’t an “it.” He’s not a sweater you try on. He’s not a diet. He’s not a behavior system. If you’re going to ‘try’ Jesus, the closest you’ll ever get is religion, and religion is the stuff of God without God in it. It’s the shell.
Belonging to Jesus isn’t going out and being better. It’s not living a holy life so he’ll love you. Being a believer is just that: believing, which means trusting and placing all of your weight on Jesus for now and eternity. It means confessing with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believing in your heart that God raised him from the dead.
To confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord is not to repeat a line in a dark worship center or to slip up your hand during an invitation on Sunday. Rather, it means we say in earnest, “You’re the king of my life forever. I’m handing over my future. I’m handing over my past. I’m handing over the controls here and now.”
Colossians 2:6-7 states, “As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”
Our faith is rooted when we’re planted by the constant living water of God’s Word and prayer, providing us with stability and strength. But what does it mean to abound in thanksgiving? While it obviously means to be grateful, the word “abound” carries the connotation of action.
“Abound” is the verb form of “abundant,” the adjective Jesus uses in John 10:10 to describe the thriving life he intends for us. To abound in thanksgiving is to purposely direct the overflow of our root system into other people’s lives.
The only fruitful Christian is the one who abides with Jesus. We can’t abound unless we abide in Christ. When we do, he produces the fruit. We can reach out in a million and one ways. We hear him in his Word, we sense his Holy Spirit’s nudges, and we move. This is what it means to reach out. This is what it means to thrive.