For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
“He died for us so that we will all live, not for ourselves, but for Him who died and rose from the dead.” 2 Corinthians 5:15
Although Jesus was clear about His mission, I wonder if He experienced loneliness and heartache as He left all that was familiar to follow God’s plan.
Jesus willingly consented to His Father’s plan and did the incomprehensible. The One who was rich in everything became poor, making Himself nothing. He assumed our debt of sin and paid it with His very life so that you and I could become beloved children of God.
And His sacrifice, when accepted by us, gives us not only new life but also a new role in life!
Our key verse from 2 Corinthians teaches that Jesus died so that we will live … not for ourselves but for the One who died for us. And when we read a bit further in 2 Corinthians, verse 20 clarifies our role: “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors …”.
Ambassadors are connectors. They connect the lives of those they represent with the lives of those in their sphere of influence. And to be effective, the chosen appointees must live so that people are drawn to and find favor with them and those they represent.
Friends, we too are ambassadors. We are ambassadors appointed by Christ, not by a nation or an organization. God intentionally placed us on this earth to live for Him.
What a privilege and honor to be hand-picked by God to live fully engaged lives in this generation, in our communities, in our neighborhoods and in our families so that He can use us to shine His love and light!
Heavenly Father, Equip me with all I need to be Your ambassador. Father, I want to represent You well. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.
When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.
All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”
But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”
Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
It is a blessing when you come back to him for grace and mercy and he is always there with open arms. Stop judging your fellow-man, but open your heart and fellowship with him as a brother in need.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your amazing grace … a gift that gives me new life. Help me to live a “so that” life, one that pours out Your love and grace. Equip me with all I need to be Your ambassador. Father, I want to represent You well. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Being righteous and looking righteous are two different things. Looking righteous is something we’ve mastered. We know how to follow the rules, play the game and fit into the church crowd. Maybe you’re like me and are wired to work hard to get things done “right.” I like to please my peers and check items off my to-do list. Often it wins me the approval I crave. I get pats on the back, and it all looks good on the outside.
But on the inside — in the quiet moments — I can find myself exhausted. Sometimes my self-righteousness leaks out and reveals its ugliness through judgmental thoughts and attitudes towards others. It’s at that point when I look at others struggling while thinking I have it together or snapping with impatience when someone delays my next task.
It is hard these days to be righteous and stop the self-righteous me from stepping on others.
Revelation 2:2-5 says, I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
To maintain the right heart, God asks us to keep returning to our first love with Him. To rediscover the newness, lightness and joy we felt at first. He urges us to constantly rekindle passion for Him, which will deepen our love for Him and others.
The beautiful part is God doesn’t call us to love without Him setting the ultimate example. His love is “wide and long and high and deep” (Ephesians 3:18), and it surpasses our thoughts and the works done in our own strength.
Lord, please make me completely righteous and not a bit self-righteous. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Last night, I had a profound conversation with a friend, which started somewhere on the advancement of technology and ended up somewhere around the lack of common sense. Needless to say, we came up with the same conclusion: Two steps forward just to take one step backwards. In short, we let things that are there to help us in life, stop us from growing.
The goal of Proverbs 1:1–31 is to show us how godly wisdom merges with real life. Along the way we get principles for building strong marriages, families and work relationships. When we marry Wisdom, we begin to surround ourselves with her sayings, perspectives, tools and visual aids. These words of introduction and the proverbs that follow are meant to be applied to all dimensions of life, although they resonate clearly with dating and marriage relationships.
It is from our fathers and mothers that we first learn what marriage is like. If the lessons of marriage are taught well by parents who have lingered long in Wisdom’s house, we gain invaluable perspectives on how to respect others, to enjoy the give-and-take of domestic living, and to create an environment of hospitality in which to bring children and friends.
Heavenly Father, sometimes we forget that marriage is not simply about a husband and a wife, but was designed by You as a visible representation of Your endless love. Would You begin to show us how we might extend Your grace to others through fellowship?
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Psalm 55:17 – I will pray morning, noon, and night, pleading aloud with God; and he will hear and answer.