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The server made a mistake. It was as simple as that—except to the customer. The server apologized and the customer got a free meal, but he still ranted and called the young server stupid and other choice words. The customer was just plain mean.
Unfortunately, it’s common for people to be unkind these days. The only good thing about the lack of civility in society is that it makes a true Christian stand out more.
As God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience (Colossians 3:12).
When we put on these “clothes” of goodness and love as God’s mark on our lives, people will notice. When we’re able to respond kindly and patiently with those who make colossal mistakes or when we respond gently and with humility to those who make angry accusations, it will inspire those who know the Lord to put on those clothes too. It will also make those who don’t know Christ curious about what makes us different.
Challenge for Today: Ask the Holy Spirit to help you develop behavior that will direct people to Christ.
Quicklook: Colossians 3:5–17
Fifteen years ago, Anthony lost fifty pounds. He worked hard—carefully watching his diet and learning about nutrition, exercising to gain strength, and developing discipline to say “no” to unhealthy food. But after a while, Anthony started skipping his workouts and allowed himself a few too many unhealthy treats. Within a few years, he was back where he started.
Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness (Colossians 2:6–7).
Some people are like Anthony when it comes to their spiritual lives. They grow in their faith by studying God’s Word, exercising prayer, going to church, and disciplining themselves to avoid entertainment focused around spiritually unhealthy philosophies. Then they start to slack off, and soon they’re spiritually flabby and susceptible to false teaching.
Don’t just rest on the spiritual power you have had in the past. Keep growing; keep stretching; keep in shape!
Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Holy Spirit to show you areas in your spiritual life that need to be toned up.
Quicklook: Colossians 2:6–15
“So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me” (Acts 27:25).
The ship transporting Paul and other prisoners looked like it would be destroyed by severe storms. Then Paul spoke up and announced that an angelic visitor had said they would all survive.
Paul could have kept that message to himself. After all, they might think he was crazy to claim an angel had visited him. But Paul had the courage to speak up, to give hope in the middle of dire circumstances. When his message of hope became reality, it’s probable that those who witnessed this were eager to hear more about God.
How about you? As you look at the world around you, and possibly see dire circumstances, has God given you words of hope and encouragement and direction for others? Are you sharing those words, or keeping them to yourself? If there’s one thing the world needs right now, it’s hope.
Thought for Today: Am I finding ways to share the hope of Christ and hope of God’s goodness with the world?
Quicklook: Acts 27:21–35
Paul was only trying to keep peace. When he arrived in Jerusalem, he learned some Jews thought he was trying to make them stop following their faith traditions. Despite his attempts to clarify his teaching, some people kept believing false reports and making assumptions. Next thing Paul knew, the people seized him at the temple and tried to kill him.
Secular officials saw the uproar and figured a full-fledged government rebellion was underway. Paul had to explain himself and his faith to more and more Jewish and government leaders. Even the king was curious to hear Paul’s story. So Paul let them all hear it!
“But God has helped me to this very day; so I stand here and testify to small and great alike” (Acts 26:22)
Most people only pray for those kinds of opportunities to share the gospel. The situations did not look ideal, but they led to unprecedented opportunity for Paul to tell others about Jesus.
Challenge for Today: When you face challenging situations, ask God to help you find the way to testify through them.
Quicklook: Acts 26:19–29
“Live and let live.” It means to relax, to let things be, to not stir up people or situations. We see a lot of this. Sometimes people are afraid to speak truth for fear of offending someone or being called judgmental. But there are times when we need to shine light on the truth even if it isn’t popular.
The apostle Paul didn’t hesitate to tell the truth and warn of false teachers. He guarded his spiritual life and the lives of those he taught.
“Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood” (Acts 20:28)
We each have people we can care for and spiritually nurture. Whom are you a shepherd to? A younger Christian at work or church? Your children or grandchildren? Are we really putting energy into guiding, nurturing, and protecting our spiritual charges? Or are we unwilling to exert the energy, willing to simply “live and let live”?
Thought for Today: We combat evil not only for ourselves, but to protect those we nurture.
Quicklook: Acts 20:27–32
Diamond’s first day of her new job was quickly approaching. She was nervous and had prayed all week for God’s peace. Fearful about what was ahead of her, she asked her friends at church to pray. Their prayers brought her great comfort.
Paul the apostle, inspired by the Spirit of God, wrote more than half of the New Testament, planted churches, and walked in the power and presence of God. Yet he knew he needed the power of praying saints to get the work of God done.
I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me (Romans 15:30).
Paul was asking for spiritual intercessors as he fought against the tactics and schemes of the enemy so that the work of God would go unhindered. If the apostle Paul needed people to pray for him, so do we. Today, make a list of people you can ask to pray for you to be effective in all your work.
Challenge for Today: Make a list of people you can pray for every day!
Quicklook: Romans 15:30–33