Rejoice! What causes you joy? What gives you the feeling that something great is happening or is going to happen? Is it football season? Is it your report card? Is it the bonus at the end of the fiscal quarter? Is it family gathering? Is it family dispersing? We may not use the word, rejoice, but it is present in our lives. What we rejoice about the most says a lot about what lies beneath the surface of our lives.
Jesus has a way of teaching us these things with great power and effectiveness. To teach this to the many people who were following Him when He was in the midst of His ministry, He sent 72 of them out into the towns of Israel to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom and to heal the sick and lame.
The demands of daily life are enough alone to push us away from the path the Lord desires. Think back to when we were little children, how large and impossible these demands were to overcome. To us, having to take a nap was the end of the world. Yet as we got older we realized how petty that really was. Now we look back and long for those days, wishing we could just nap and have time to just shut down from the outside world.
Like many of you, my family made the trip back home for the Christmas holiday. I grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana – the second largest city in Indiana. We moved to Cincinnati over 3 years ago. Every time we come back to Fort Wayne I realize how easy it is to get from one side of town to the other. My perspective has been changed as a result of living in Cincinnati.
Perspectives are so significant. Your perspective steers the way you live. Before I moved to Cincinnati it would be a frustrating experience to drive across town in Fort Wayne. But now it is rather easy. Maybe you have experienced a change in perspective towards something in your life as well. Maybe it was more significant than traffic.[Tweet “Your perspective steers the way you live.”]
I love the medium of podcasts. They give me an opportunity to learn from people who have “been there, done that.” It gives me the opportunity to turn a drive into a learning experience. If you want to grow as a leader, as a writer, and just overall as a person, the following podcasts will be great for you.
What if I told you that there is an absolute best time to read the Bible? That if you read the Bible at this prescribed time your walk with Jesus would improve ten-fold. You would become a more joy filled believer with audacious faith, ready to tackle all of the day’s challenges.
For probably all of us, we would prefer God to give us a specific plan on reading His word. I know I would. If He would give me a Bible reading plan (with the absolute best time prescribed) that would ensure that my faith would grow exponentially, I would be thrilled. But here’s the thing. God doesn’t seem to work that way. On a recent episode of a podcast I follow, Jon Acuff talked about how he believes God doesn’t give us a person-specific list of things to do each day in order to live for Him because if we had such a list, we would go to the list for hope. We would go to the list instead of God. He talked about how God wants a personal relationship with us that is grounded in daily interaction.
Distractions are easy to come by in life. We can set out to do something and find ourselves getting lost in something totally unrelated and unproductive. There are many times when I set out to get a certain amount of homework done or write an article for the blog, yet I find myself surfing the web instead. I know. Getting distracted. You don’t ever struggle with that, right?
The apostle Paul uses some profound imagery in his second letter to Timothy that actually relates to getting distracted. Notice what he says:
1. “Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
2. “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him” – John Piper
3. “Radical obedience to Christ is not easy… It’s not comfort, not health, not wealth, and not prosperity in this world. Radical obedience to Christ risks losing all these things. But in the end, such risk finds its reward in Christ. And he is more than enough for us.” – David Platt
4. “We never grow closer to God when we just live life. It takes deliberate pursuit and attentiveness.” – Francis Chan
5. “We fear men so much, because we fear God so little.” – William Gurnall
6. “I have never met the man I could despair of after discerning what lies in me apart from the grace of God.” – Oswald Chambers
7. “We need never shout across the spaces to an absent God. He is nearer than our own soul, closer than our most secret thoughts” – A.W. Tozer
Want to know God in a deeper way? I just released a FREE 4 week audio course + daily devotional called, Journey. Get your copy today!
8. “But whatever you do, find the God-centered, Christ-exalting, Bible-saturated passion of your life, and find your way to say it and live for it and die for it. And you will make a difference that lasts. You will not waste your life.” – John Piper
9. “The bottom line in the Christian life is obedience and most people don’t even like the word.” – Charles Stanley
10. “Words can never adequately convey the incredible impact of our attitudes toward life. The longer I live the more convinced I become that life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we respond to it.” – Chuck Swindoll
11. “Following Jesus isn’t something you can do at night where no one notices. It’s a twenty-four-hour-a-day commitment that will interfere with your life. That’s not the small print—that’s a guarantee.” – Kyle Idleman
12. “The Christian faith is meant to be lived moment by moment. It isn’t some broad, general outline–it’s a long walk with a real Person. Details count: passing thoughts, small sacrifices, a few encouraging words, little acts of kindness, brief victories over nagging sins.” – Joni Eareckson Tada
13. “Whenever anything disagreeable or displeasing happens to you remember Christ crucified and be silent.” – John of the Cross
14. “To believe one does not need counsel is great pride.” – Basil the Great
15. “There’s no greater lifestyle and no greater happiness than that of having a continual conversation with God.” – Brother Lawrence
16. “You have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” – Augustine
17. “When Satan reminds us of our past, we should remind him of his future.” – Unknown