DNA Test

In John 2:18-19, Jesus has just cleared the temple of the money lenders by releasing His righteous anger. In disbelief, the crowd at the temple look at each other and a brave person asks, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?” The people are asking Jesus who he was. It would be like asking a man if he was really the daddy to his children. Of course, the man could show them a DNA test or just look at the facial features and see the similarities.

When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are a new creation. Paul says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV). In essence, we get new DNA from God. This new DNA transforms us into sons and daughters, as God did not want to leave us as orphans (John 14:18). Because we are new creations with different DNA, we look like Jesus. People begin to expect us to act like Him as well. The DNA inside us start to shine, the more we allow Holy Spirit to shine through us. This in turns draws people to you as they are attracted to Jesus, even if they do not realize why.

Nick was approached by a person who needed a ride home. The man was attracted to Jesus in Nick. Nick could have made an excuse not to help. He could have said he was already late or he was going in an opposite direction. Instead, Nick traveled down a road less travelled and help the man. Because Nick had agreed to help, it was much easier for him to share Jesus with the man and gave him tangible evidence that Jesus was real.

Jeremy had just moved for his fourth time during high school. As the new kid, he was not known by anyone. While the other students did not know Jeremy, they saw the image of Christ in him. Jake had met Jeremy and was in a couple of his classes, but really did not know him. When Jake needed someone to listen and pray with him, he sought out Jeremy. He didn’t know why, except he was drawn to Jesus and felt like Jeremy would be a safe place to get council and advice. We can all let our new DNA shine through to those around us. When we do, just watch how others are drawn to you, which opens the door for you to share the love of Jesus.

Action for the day

Today, choose to live like Jesus. Ask Holy Spirit to be evident in your life. Wherever you go, be sure to have the mind of Christ and interact with others the way Jesus would. Make sure the Fruit of the Spirit are evident today. The fruit are: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Let these be the guide as you go about your day.

Prayer for the day

Today Lord allow me to reveal Your fruit of my life. Let me live out love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in a tangible way that draws others to you. Let me join You in the work You are doing and draw others to me. Reveal what actions I should take to demonstrate Your love. Let Your DNA in me be evident to anyone who is in need of You. Let me be your hands, feet and voice. Thank you for being my daddy. I love you and ask for these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.

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Heartbeat of God

I have always found it interesting that we are made in the image of God. (Genesis 1:26). This means that God would have similar appearance as man or woman. But I have also wondered if it means He has internal organs like we do. Does God have lungs, a liver, a stomach? Does He have a heart like ours? We know David was a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22), however is our heart fashioned after God’s heart?

We know the normal resting heart rate for an average person at an average age is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. In contrast, the humming bird hearts can beat as fast as 1,260 beats per minute. The heartbeat of God is more complex than a physical beating. It gets to what He is passionate about. If we align our heartbeat with His, then we will start to see and feel the world differently. In Luke 19:10, Jesus gives us a picture of what gets His heart beating. He said, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” His greatest desire is to see every one of His children to know Him and have a relationship with Him. When we allow our heart to beat like Jesus’s, then we find the courage to do the things He would do.

Noelle and her family made a family budget at Christmas to make sure they did not overspend. After they had completed their purchases for the season, they realized they still had some money left over. Instead of absorbing it back into their overall budget, they felt led to give it away. So they split it up between the family members asked their children to pray about where God wanted this money to go. They wanted this offering to be Holy Spirit led and given away when they saw an opportunity to give it to a stranger. One day, Noelle and her ten-year-old were at a fast food restaurant. Her daughter saw a man sitting in a corner and wondered what he was doing. He was disheveled and was most likely homeless. When they approached the man, Noelle noticed he was making lemonade out of the free water, lemon packets and sugar. Her daughter felt the stirring of the Spirit and told her mom she wanted to give her designated money to this man. The gesture moved the man to tears as he felt the love of Jesus and in that moment Noelle’s daughter was perfectly aligned with the heartbeat of God.

Action for the day

Today, align your heartbeat with God’s and look for an opportunity to give someone hope. Maybe it is helping someone who is homeless. Maybe it is paying for someone’s meal or coffee. Maybe it is giving an extra tip to a waiter or waitress and let them know God sees them. Maybe it is helping a mother of a crying baby at the store.  Be open to the opportunity the Holy Spirit puts before you.

Prayer for the day

Father, thank you that you did not leave us with a heart of stone, but you gave us a heart of flesh that can beat with the same rhythm as Jesus. Show me today who your heart is beating for and reveal what I can do to be aligned with Your heartbeat. Let me be a person after Your own heart, just like David. Open up the door of opportunity so I can step through and share your love with a hurting world. It is in Your name Jesus, the name above all names that I pray this. Amen.

Time for Reconciliation

There has always been division in humanity. Ever since Cain and Abel we have seen jealousy, fear, envy, distrust and misunderstanding. People have always had prejudices, which means pre-judge or to form an opinion that is not based on fact. Sometimes it is an unconscious bias against a person, race, or gender. It does not help that the media loves to stereotype people and people groups. None of this is new. In Galatians 3:28 is says, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Even two thousand years ago people were labeled by race, gender and class.

When I was ten, we moved from Mexico to New Jersey. As a third culture kid and new to a small community, I stood out like a sore thumb. I tried my best to fit in, but the US culture was foreign to me. I had a number of misunderstandings with other kids, mostly because I really did not know any better. Somehow, one of the boys I had made an enemy of was the playground bully. He was also a third culture kid as he was originally from Puerto Rico. He called me out to a fight one day after class. I had no interest in fighting him and had no idea why he wanted to beat me up. I was much more interested in being his friend since I understood him more than the kids who had only lived in one place all of their lives.

As I walked home that day, a group of kids had gathered to watch the beat down. I had made up my mind to talk some sense into Nelson. When I approached him, I asked him why he was mad at me. He said I had called his mother a name. Besides not knowing what the name was, I denied ever saying anything about him or his mother. Apparently someone just wanted me to get beat up. Unfortunately, since a crowd had gathered, Nelson needed to do something to keep his reputation intact, even though he believed me. Choosing not to get a black eye, I decided to duck and run. Nelson landed a blow on my back as the crowd cheered and heckled me as I ran away.

The next day I approached Nelson to let him know that I had not said anything derogatory against his mother. It was not who I was. We talked for a bit and eventually reconciled our differences. We became really good friends for the next couple of years while I lived in the community. If I had not sought to reconcile with Nelson, I would have missed out on a friendship. While God does call us to reconcile with each other (Matthew 5:23-24), His ultimate desire is for us to be reconciled is with Himself. We are called to be ministers of reconciliation, where we are helping others be reconciled with Jesus. We are to help others know Jesus as their Lord and Savior so they can also be sons and daughters of God.

 Action for the day

Is there anyone you have an issue with? Anyone who has wronged your or you have wronged? Today, make the decision to reconcile with them. Raise the white flag of peace and go make it right with the other person. Maybe it is a family member or old friend. Maybe it is a co-worker or a child. Whoever it is, put on the mind of Christ, set aside any pride and make amends.

Prayer for the day

Jesus, thank you for loving us and reconciling with me. Thank you that you did not leave me as a sinner and an orphan. But I am now Your child and a royal priest. Father, I ask you to help me reconcile with those who I have wronged. Give me the courage to say I am sorry and let this bring You glory. Let this be the first step in our reconciliation, but also reconciliation with You. It is in your powerful name, Jesus, that I ask these things. Amen.

Share your testimony

If I am being honest with myself, I had been overconfident in my career. I had pedigree companies that I had worked for and excelled. I went around and shared my motto, “what is the worst thing they can do?” The answer, of course is fire me. My overconfidence led me to think that would never happen. Until it did. The saving grace is God had already informed me that change was in the air. He had even told my wife and I to sell our house. As we prepared to put the house on the market, I was called into the CEO’s office and we agreed I would leave the company. This is where my testimony of the single most disruptive season of my life begins.

Even as I was leaving the office for the last time, I believed it would be weeks before I found a new role. I would not have conceived that it would take over eight months and hundreds of hours of networking. My arrogance prevented me from seeing that God will open the right door at the right time. However, He was faithful throughout the process to guide us through the season. I knew He wanted us to sell our house, but did not know where He wanted us to move. He proceeded to tell me the city and He gave my wife the date we would buy the new house. When we found the house in the new city, there were 17 other offers. We were not the highest offer. Yet, God had other plans. We were selected, even though we had put in a lower offer and it was accepted on the date God had given my wife.

Throughout the whole season of unemployment, God kept closing doors with perfectly good jobs. The reason is He wanted me to write a book. During this season, I was able to finish the book and God brought a publisher that wanted to publish the book. He also had me work on my overreliance on a company to find my security. I now know that Jesus is my only security and He will provide all of my needs. It is a tough lesson to learn, but we have a good God that loves us and gently corrects us.

What I also found during this season is my testimony of what God was doing in the midst of a season of trial was encouraging to others facing the same thing. It was amazing to see how many people I ran across that were also looking for a job. My testimony was a help in growing faith in the other person. My testimony was highlighting what God was doing in my life in the middle of a trial and how He is always there. My role was to build up the body because of what I was going through. We can choose to have a “woe is me” attitude or come in a different spirit. I love how Paul talks about the process of going through trials in Romans 5:2-5, “We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!: (MSG). Our hope and joy, especially during trials, is infectious to others who are facing the same trail. So rejoice and share your testimony to beat back the enemy and encourage others to push on.

Action for the day

Today, share your testimony with one other person. Even if you don’t have a sensational God story, sharing what God is doing or has done in your life will encourage and help others see your faith. Maybe it is a family member, a friend or co-worker who doesn’t know Jesus. You can plant that seed because it is not your opinion, rather it is your experience. Watch how God uses your testimony to do something great!

Prayer for the day

Jesus, I thank you for always being present in my life. Even when the world seems to be crashing in, You are there with me. You are giving me strength and raising me up on wings like an eagle. You want good for me and will never leave me. I ask that you show me what testimony I should share and who I should share it with. I want to bring glory to the work You are doing in my life. Open the ears and heart of the person I share it with so they too can be encouraged and will see how You are working in their life as well. It is in Your powerful name, Jesus, that I pray these things. Amen.

Get Out of the House

Growing up I always thought that I needed to go to church to find God. That is where He was right? If I wanted prayer, I go to church. If I wanted healing, I go to church. If I wanted salvation, I go to church. All of those statements are correct, however, they are not sufficient to live out the great commandment to “go and make disciples of all nations.” Church is a safe place to be with those who know Jesus and believe in His life giving message. Too many of us equate the building with the broader understanding of “the church.” Every believer in Christ Jesus is the church since Holy Spirit lives inside us.

I find it interesting when I read the creation story in Genesis 1 and 2. He creates the heavens, the earth, the animals and finally man. Then in Genesis 2:8 we are told, “now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.” There were trees and rivers and flowers. What was not there was a building. God had not wanted Adam and Eve to be restricted with a building. Fast forward to the time Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt. He had them live in tents. In fact, God Himself resided in the tabernacle, which was a tent. Then God had Solomon build a temple for God’s present to reside. However, it was a place to go to and then go from. Finally, Jesus gives His life for our sins and transforms our bodies into the temple of God.

Just like the tabernacle in Moses time, our bodies are meant to be the mobile temple of Jesus. We are not meant to restrict ourselves to a building. Church on Sunday should be a time where we can get instruction, a time to worship God as a whole body and be encouraged. We are then to go out and be the hands and feet of Jesus. He wanted us in a garden, to be outside, interacting with His creation. He wants us going to where people are sick and hurting. We are to get out and bring the gospel or good news to a world in pain.

 

Action for the day

Today, make a commitment to get out of the building and find a place can serve. The church is good, but get out into the community. The good news is search engines today enable us to find places that serve areas of our passions. If you don’t know where to start, try some of these searches:

  • Place to serve <insert the name of your city>
  • Volunteer opportunities <insert name of your city>
  • Soup kitchens near me
  • Serve food to the homeless
  • Anti-trafficking organizations <insert name of your city>
  • Non-profit organizations <insert name of your city>

Once you have searched and chosen a place to serve, take the action to contact them today and get involved.

Prayer for the day

Father God, thank you that You created a world full of wonder and beauty. It is good! Today, as I make a commitment to get out and be your hands and feet, guide me to the place where I can join You in Your work. Let my heart break for the things that break your heart. Reveal how my passions are in line with my purpose to live an abundant life. Show me where I can best serve to bring Your glory and the Kingdom of Heaven to earth. It is in the powerful name of Jesus I pray these things. Amen.

Divine Interruptions

There are only 24 hours in a day. Everyone is subject to the number of hours, minutes and seconds each day brings. In essence, it is a limited commodity for everyone. It does not matter if you’re rich, poor, black, white, Christian, Muslim. Time impacts all of us. With so much to do, so much to be distracted by, a new term has emerged for those who are over scheduled, over committed and overtired. It is called time poverty. It basically is telling us what we already know. We are too busy.

It was not supposed to be like this. In 1928, John Maynard Keynes predicted that by 2028 our wealth and technology would permit us all to work 15-hour weeks and dedicate our lives to leisure. Instead of having a lot of extra time to help others and relax, we find ourselves in a much different world.

  • Americans work an average of 8.8 hours per day as compared to the UK at 7.8 hours per day. Those in Italy and Germany work only 6.8 hours per day. This does not include the “shadow work”, which is all of the tasks that take time in which we don’t get paid for like cooking, driving the kids, communing, etc.
  • In America, we spend an average of 60 hours a week at work, as compared to 40 hours per week in 1967.
  • In America, we take fewer vacations than other parts of the world. We take an average of 14 days a year, as compared to Norway who take an average of 70 days per year.
  • We also do not get enough sleep. The average person only sleeps 6 hours a night, as compared to 8.5 hours a night a century ago.

More work, more tasks, less sleep, fewer vacations. It is no wonder we are tired and feel overwhelmed and too busy. But are we too busy for the divine interruptions that allows us to share the love of Christ? Lisa is not. She was at her daughter’s softball game and got to talking with an out of town grandparent. He asked Lisa if she knew where a particular place was that he needed to visit at the end of the game. Lisa’s initial thought was to teach him how to use his navi on his phone. Unfortunately, he struggled a bit. Instead of leaving the man to his own devices, Lisa chose to allow the interruption and offered to lead the man to his destination. The man was shocked that someone would take time out of their busy schedule to help him. He was so grateful. That day Lisa realized the value of not overbooking her schedule. It was a great example to Lisa’s daughter as well. Taking time to help a person in need is exactly what Jesus would have done.

Action for the day

Your task for today is to review your weekly schedule. Look at every activity and task that you have. Do you have enough open time to accommodate a divine interruption? If not, prioritize and take some things off your plate. If you are to truly make a difference in this world, you will need some time to engage with people.

Prayer for the day

Jesus, thank you that you always had time for those in need. Today, I pray you will help me see how I can manage my time so I can also have time to join You in your work. Help me to see those in need and step into their lives and make a difference. Father, I ask that You help me to be time rich so that I can give it away freely. It is in your powerful name Jesus that I ask these things. Amen.

 

Notes:

Tim Chester, The Busy Christian’s Guide to Busyness (Nottingham, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 2006)

Richard A. Swenson, Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2004)