The Attributes Of God – God Is Just And Merciful

What are God’s attributes? When we talk about the attributes of God, we are trying to answer questions like, Who is God, What is God like, and What kind of God is He? An attribute of God is something true about Him. Each Friday we will look at the attributes of God. This week, God is just.

“Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.” – Isaiah 30:18 (ESV). 

We have been talking each Friday about the attributes of God. The problem is there are not enough Fridays in our lifetimes to talk about the attributes of God, the glories of God, and the perfections of God. “Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.” (Psalm 146:3) Try as we will, we will never unwrap the glories of God as revealed in Scripture.

In Isaiah 30:18 we see two characteristics of God: His mercy and His justice. God is powerful and just. This verse reveals so much about God’s character and how good He is. This verse gives us direction in how we are to live and reveals that God waits. He waits to be gracious. Let that sink in for a moment. The Lord waits to be gracious to you. He longs to pour out His favor and show you mercy. Isaiah 30:15 reveals why He waits, “This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength…”

But God is a God of justice. He is absolutely just. God cannot be fooled. Because He is all-knowing and ever-present, He has all the facts at His disposal. He knows the circumstances and motives, so His decisions are always based on absolute truth. God is also a perfect judge. “Everything He does is just and fair. He is a faithful God who does no wrong; how just and upright He is!” (Deuteronomy 32:4)  

Justice is one of the pillars of society, but there are times when justice is compromised by people seeking personal gain. But while it is possible to manipulate justice in our courts, we cannot manipulate God’s justice. Because He is a just God, His verdict will always be right. King David said, “For the righteous Lord loves justice…” (Psalm 11:7)

Because God is just, He will always treat you fairly. However, as the holy and righteous creator and sovereign of the universe, God cannot ignore any act of sin. The psalmist writes, “You spread out our sins before You — our secret sins — and You see them all… Who can comprehend the power of Your anger? Your wrath is as awesome as the fear You deserve.” (Psalm 90:8,11)  

“God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.” (Ecclesiastes 12:14)

Discussion Questions:

  1. Has there ever been a time when your idea of justice and God’s idea of justice were different? How did you reconcile those feelings? 
  2. Does justice mean forgive and forget? Why is it important that God confronts evil and sin and holds people accountable?

The Attributes Of God – God Is Righteous

What are God’s attributes? When we talk about the attributes of God, we are trying to answer questions like, who is God, what is God like, and what kind of God is He? An attribute of God is something true about Him. Each Friday we will look at the attributes of God. This week, God is righteous.

“The LORD is righteous in all His ways and faithful in all He does.” – Psalm 145:17 (NIV).

The righteousness of God, one of the most prominent attributes of God in the Scriptures, is also one of the most elusive. Initially, distinguishing the righteousness of God from His holiness or His goodness seems difficult. God always acts righteously; His every action is consistent with His character. God is always consistently “Godly.” God is not defined by the term “righteous” as much as the term “righteous” is defined by God. Righteousness is part of God’s character. Since He is righteous, that means that there is no other way for Him to act because He must remain true to who He is. 

We live in an age when the distinction between right and wrong is becoming increasingly blurred. Our culture believes that what is morally right varies from person to person and situation to situation. Yet God’s standards do not change; they are timeless. God’s laws are a reflection of His own righteous nature. Through faith in Christ, we are given His righteousness. He bore our sin at the cross, then blesses us with the gift of His righteousness when we come to faith in Him.

Romans 3:21-22 (ESV) says, “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction.” Romans 5: 17 says, “For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 adds, “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.”

Isn’t it amazing that our God would make that kind of trade? It seems beyond comprehension to imagine that a holy, righteous God would take our sin upon Himself so that He could cover us with His righteousness. But if He didn’t do so, we would have no hope. God could have chosen to remain unknown to us, but He didn’t. Instead, He offers us the righteousness of Christ.

Discussion Questions:

  1. When you hear the word righteousness, what do you think of? 
  2. From your perspective, how does a person become righteous or unrighteous?
  3. Do you struggle with trying to measure your righteousness against that of others? What about that of Jesus? 

The Difference Between Involvement And Commitment

  “Carefully determine what pleases the Lord.” –  Ephesians 5:10.

There is some confusion between involvement and commitment. To be involved typically means staying as long as you are happy.  Commitment is entirely different. Commitment is not a promise, it is the point when the promise is kept. Commitment requires planning, perseverance, and sacrifice.  

What would have happened if Noah had not been fully committed; if he had completed only ninety percent of what God asked him to do?  Imagine if he had left part of the hull unfinished, choosing instead to use the time for other things.  

God wasn’t asking for an imperfect being to create a perfect product out of imperfect material, but He was asking Noah to stay committed and complete His request.  Noah could not afford to be indifferent to God’s will, and neither can we.  Noah had to complete the Ark because it was God’s will.  His salvation, his family’s chance of surviving catastrophe, and the fulfillment of God’s will were all dependent upon his complete and total willingness to trust God.  The same is true for us.  We need to trust God completely.  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Real commitment is certainly difficult, yet we are asked to do it every day.  We’re asked to commit to spouses, children, jobs, church, communities, and countless other things.  Many of these types of commitments require balance. Work-life balance means we have to balance the time and effort from one commitment to another.  While this is important, it doesn’t work with our commitment to follow Jesus.  God does not expect us to manage everything perfectly, but He does expect our first commitment to be to Him.  

Much of our spiritual life is a process of letting go of old habits and embracing our new life as a follower of Jesus.  We won’t always get it right and we will make mistakes, but we will keep moving forward if we remain steadfast in our commitment to God.  “So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)

A life serving Jesus requires total commitment.  Galatians  6:9 says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” God doesn’t leave us alone.  He gave us His Holy Spirit to walk and climb right next to us, giving us strength. God will remind us of how He guided us through difficult paths in the past so we can persevere now.

Discussion Questions: 

  1. On a scale of 1 to 10, where is your commitment to Jesus? Why did you pick the number you did?
  2. Who or what has the most influence on your day-to-day decisions? Where does Jesus fall in the order of influential voices in your life?
  3. What step do you need to take this week to make your relationship with Jesus your No. 1 priority?

Preparing For Easter

“Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?” – John 11:25-26 (NLT)

Easter is about a month away. We all know the statistics concerning Easter and Christmas. People are more open to coming to church on Christmas and Easter than at any other time of the year. Because of that, we look at these holidays as great opportunities for outreach. Opportunities to share the gospel while giving people an opportunity to experience first hand our church environments.  While it is important to “put our best foot forward,” I don’t believe this is enough to bring people back after Easter. What people want is to discover the risen Savior.

At this point in my life I am more impressed with Jesus Christ and the grace of God than ever before. As Easter approaches, I can’t help but think of Jesus, specifically his suffering in the place of all sinners. I think of Jesus’ laser focus on marching to the cross to bear the sins of the world. I think of Jesus, the one who is due all glory and honor, bearing all of my shame and dishonor, so that I might be forgiven. I think of the Son of God tasting death (“But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.” – Hebrews 2.9) so that I would never have to. (“…‘If anyone keeps my word, he will never taste death.” – John 8.52).

I think of Jesus being raised from the dead to declare victory over sin and death. When I think of my Savior, I picture myself myself joining in the heavenly anthem with the Apostle John: “… and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.” (Revelation 1.6-7)

So here’s my challenge, but I issue it only to those of us who are followers of Jesus, whose lives have been changed, and who believe that Jesus can change other’s lives just as he did ours. There is someone around you who is sincerely wondering “Who Jesus really is?” They honestly don’t know, or what they think they know are myths and perceptions. But they have an open mind and are willing to listen. Remember that the majority of people who don’t attend church, give the same reason when they’re asked why: “No one ever asked.”

Your mission, if you would prepare for Easter in a way that will bring glory to God and transform lives, is to find that one person that you can invite. I can’t tell you who they are; but God knows, and you probably do, too: your neighbor, your colleague, maybe a brother or sister, a mother or father, maybe a close friend. Someone who hasn’t yet experienced the forgiveness, the deliverance, and the peace, that comes when you experience new life through faith in Jesus Christ. Invite him or her to one of our Northstar Church campuses.

Take some time over the next few weeks to feel what Jesus feels, by letting your heart be broken for those who are hurting, those who are wandering, those who are searching for answers to this life. I can tell you what will happen if you let yourself feel what Jesus feels: it will bring a flood of compassion for those far from the heart of God.

  Counting Down To Easter

  1. Pray for the Easter services.
  2. Make a list of people you want to invite to church on Easter? Do you have a relationship with that individual(s)? Have you prayed for that individual(s)?
  3. Have you shared your story on how God has changed your life?
  4. Have you considered your role after they attend Northstar? Will you continue to pray for them?
  5. Pray and ask God for the wisdom to invest in the lives of others in a way that draws them to Him

Love Makes The World Go Round

“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. – Romans 12:10.

Sometimes I learn my lessons the hard way. Perhaps you do as well. Sometimes I learn from other people’s mistakes and sometimes I learn from my own. And there have been times where I didn’t learn at all, at least the first time it happened. Bottom line, I don’t have them catalogued or written down in a notebook, but I have I made a ton of often very regrettable mistakes, and thus generated some regret along the way. I still make mistakes. And it’s still how I occasionally learn.

Some of those mistakes and regrets involve loving people as God would have us love them: deeply and unconditionally. And in the same vein, showing love through action to all those on our journey. The familiar story of the Good Samaritan illustrates who is our neighbor. The well-known parable is found in Luke 10:25-37.

This could happen because there was a dangerous road and those who traveled alone were vulnerable. The Priest and Levite were religious people and pillars of society. They were known to work in the temple and be close to God. The Samaritan was generally hated because there was great animosity between the Jews and the Samaritans that went back hundreds of years. Yet he is the one who acted as a neighbor.

Jesus is making the point that to really love your neighbor you have to see beyond race, or economics or any of the other boundaries that we set as a society. Jesus shows that love must transcend these boundaries.

Jesus changed the question from “who is my neighbor?” to “how do I love my neighbor?” The answer was pretty straightforward. You love your neighbor by treating that person, regardless of who they are, the way you would want to be treated. This applies to anyone: your spouse, your boss, a friend, a co-worker, somebody you just met. 

But how are we supposed to do this? This call to love reflects the faith that leads to eternal life because the Samaritan did for the man what Jesus has done for us.

Imagine how much more motivated you would be if you had been the one the good Samaritan helped. You would never forget that kindness. You would always stop to help another person because you had been the recipient of great grace. Maybe that is why this is the example of faith. As Christians we are all the man beside the road. We were all unable to save ourselves and Jesus stopped to save us.

Jesus asks us to love as He loved. We should strive to love deeply as He loves: not as a program or as an obligation, but as a normal part of life. Just work hard to show love to the people in your path and in your life. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. How do you define neighbor? How does Jesus define neighbor?
  2. What is the major difference in your mind between the world’s view of love and God’s view of love? 
  3. How can we all express more compassion and care for one another?
  4. Does loving your neighbor as yourself help explain how Jesus loved?
  5. What can we do this week to love others more deeply? 

The Armor Of God

“…my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—from violent people you save me. “I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and have been saved from my enemies.” – 2 Samuel 22:3-4.

In the Pray First – a Personal Prayer Guide, there is a section entitled Warfare Prayers – Protection Prayer. That is the subject of this devotional.

The Christian life is a battle. It is warfare on a grand scale. What do you do to prepare for this battle with Satan? Ephesians 6:11 says we are to “stand against the devil’s schemes.” Satan is God’s enemy; therefore he is our enemy. The only way he can attack God is through us. And we can be sure he will seek us out and attack us with his schemes. Ephesians 6:12 says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Our best protection is to put on the armor of God. (Ephesians 6:10-20) I would like to highlight just a few pieces of the total armor of God. 

A primary piece of armor is the breastplate of righteousness. Righteousness isn’t found in our actions, goodness, or ability to go to God without Jesus; it is found in Jesus alone. Nothing that we’ve done, and everything that He’s done, is what allows us to be in a right relationship with God the Father, making us righteous in His eyes. When we are attacked by our enemies, it’s His righteousness that protects us. 

Then you have the shield of faith. Clearly, a shield is vitally important to a soldier. It provides a blanket of protection. It is meant to be taken up in all circumstances. It is the first barrier against the enemy’s attack. Often, shields were painted with identifying marks; a Christian who takes up the shield of faith identifies himself as a foot soldier who serves God. The arrows, the attacks of the enemy, the lies, the bad circumstances, they are stopped by our faith.

Then you don the helmet of salvation. Needless to say your head must be protected in battle. The assurance of salvation is our impenetrable defense against anything the enemy throws at us. Jesus said, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28). The idea in this verse is that, as we prepare for Satan’s attacks, we must grab that helmet and buckle it on tightly. Salvation is not limited to a one-time act, rather is daily protection and deliverance from our enemies.

Finally, the sword of the Spirit, which is an offensive weapon. Rather than being defensive we can take the offensive by using a powerful weapon, His word. How did Jesus fight the devil? He quoted scripture. How can we fight the lies, the deception, the attitudes, the circumstances, the enemy coming against us? Confessing and standing on the scripture. Which is why we need to read it. Daily. Intentionally.

God’s Word is filled with promises of His protection. For example, Psalm 28:7 which says, “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.” 

Discussion Questions:

  1. Read Psalm 91: What does this passage tell us about protection from illness, the trials in our life, the unforeseen circumstances and the attacks of the enemy?
  2. Why is the armor of God important in your view?
  3. Is it possible to “put on” only part of the armor? Why or why not?
  4. What’s the importance of our faith?
  5. Pray and ask God to help you with a piece of armor this week. 

Pray For Easter Services

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,” – 1 Peter 1:3-4.

Spring is a time of rebirth, when everything outside comes alive in vibrant colors. There is no greater picture of this new life than the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. At Northstar, we can’t think of a better time to visit for a first visit, or perhaps to return after a season away. Easter Sunday gives us a unique opportunity to bring the Gospel to our families, neighborhoods and cities. I ask you to join with us in praying for churches across the country and the world that God will do some incredible work within the hearts of people in the areas we serve, as well as all over the world. 

Our Easter services are for everyone, no matter where you are on your journey with God. At each service, you can expect a thought-provoking and engaging message based on the Bible, high-energy music, and more. A lot of planning and praying goes into our Easter services. We try to pull out all the stops and for good reason. Easter is one of the few times of the year when many semi-churched and unchurched people come to church. These services are going to be joyful celebrations of our resurrected Savior, Jesus Christ. We really want to encourage everyone to be inviting friends and neighbors to come to one of our services. 

The Easter story has real meaning and continues to capture people’s imagination. It is an opportunity to reach people who are far from the heart of God, to hear the gospel preached and let God work in their lives. Our goal is to have every parking space filled, every chair occupied. We want people in every crevice of every campus we have. Many will have their perceptions about church changed. Many will have a completely different church experience then they imagined or experienced before. Many will find Jesus. Many will become regular church attenders. You might be inviting them to the place they truly belong. You inviting them to Easter could be the most important invitation they ever receive.

The six-day challenge is to pray for our Easter services. Pray that the people we invite will hear and respond to the gospel on Easter. But remember it is not about numbers. Metrics are valuable and big attendance days can help us envision what our church will look like in the years ahead. But don’t forget that every person is loved by God. And that every person needs the new life that God offers each of us.   

Pray for:

  1. A spirit of joy and celebration in our services.
  2. Boldness in inviting neighbors and friends.
  3. Strong turnout for Easter services on all campuses.
  4. Clarity in presenting the gospel.
  5. Pray in faith that the Holy Spirit will work in people’s hearts.
  6. Hearts to be transformed and for people to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. 

Get Your Heart Right With God and People

“But faith’s way of getting right with God says, “Don’t say in your heart, ‘Who will go up to heaven?’ (to bring Christ down to earth). And don’t say, ‘Who will go down to the place of the dead?’ (to bring Christ back to life again).” In fact, it says,“The message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart.” And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” – Romans 10:6-10

Sometimes smart people do dumb things, wise people do foolish things, and Godly people do sinful things. For some of us those things are locked in our past, while for others it is a part of our present. There is one thing we all have in common – the ability and the tendency to make mistakes, to mess up, and to do things that make us shake our heads soon after. Not that we should be surprised. The Bible says “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) The question is when we do something wrong, how do we make it right? How do we get our heart right with God?

1 Samuel 16:7 says, “…For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” God can see things about you that no one else can see. Deep things. Hidden things. You know, those inner thoughts and desires that your family and friends have no idea are even floating around in your heart and mind.

Being separated from God is a terrible thing. We were created to enjoy a close connection with Him. With Jesus, fractured relationships get mended. Getting right with God can and should lead to staying right with God. Being right with God means we are constantly working to grow and mature in Christ.

Getting and staying right with God means we must walk in the Spirit, keeping your mind on God and His kingdom by praying continually. During the 21 Days of Prayer consider praying Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” God will be faithful to answer this prayer and to keep your heart stayed on Him.

There is also the need to get your heart right with others. We feel bad, in most cases, when things aren’t right between us and someone we care about. It gnaws at us, eats away inside us. We know it needs to be resolved but we often don’t know where to begin, or we don’t want to be the one who takes the first step. We need to take that step. We need to forgive, reconcile and love that person. It is not easy, but is something we must do to truly live as God desires.

Loving others is the only way to keep the God-kind of life flowing through you. God’s love is a gift to us; it’s in us, but we need to release it to others through words and actions. Here’s a 6-day challenge: Think of a person that you want to get right with. Then think of ways you can find to make it right. I believe you will feel a wonderful sense of fulfillment and joy afterward.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What does getting right with God look like for you?
  2. To have a heart after God’s heart, we must spend time alone in prayer with God. Agree or disagree?
  3. We should each ask ourselves how seriously we take Jesus’ love. What difference does it make in our lives?
  4. What does love require of us for the next six days?
  5. Get your heart right with God and people today. Ask the Lord to forgive you for any sin in your life and to bring up any unforgiveness you hold onto.

Blessed Multiplication

“He will love you, bless you, and multiply you. He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your wine and your oil, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock, in the land that he swore to your fathers to give you.” – Deuteronomy 7:13

In May of 2005 a 1999 Volkswagen Golf was sold on eBay for the price of $244,000. No, it was not gold plated or one of a kind.  There was nothing truly unique about the car, except for who owned it. The car was owned by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict. The fact that the Pope owned the car caused the value of the car to multiply many times over its true value.

Jesus blessed and added value to everything. He was given a coin and made it into a lesson of our responsibilities both to God and government. He was given a boat and turned it into a pulpit on which he could teach the multitudes. He was given a donkey and made it an image of servant leadership. He was given a bowl and a towel and gave us a model of humility. He was given a cross, and made it a symbol of salvation.

I always stand in awe when I think about the way that God multiplied life through the life, the death, and the resurrection of His Son. Because of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, there are literally millions and millions and millions of Christians around the world. All the people who found eternal life over thousands of years did so because Jesus Christ gave His one life. Now that is multiplication.

The feeding the 5,000 story should remind those of us who are followers of Jesus that our problems are never too large for God to handle. I’m sure the disciples were a little confused, and wondering what could they accomplish with only five loaves and two fish. 

As believers, we should know, at least theoretically, that God can do anything. He is God so He can feed as many people as He wants. The problem comes when we are faced with a practical application of the theory/belief in our lives, we wonder whether God will meet our need.  So we take things in our own hands. 

The feeding of the 5,000 is proof that no matter how insignificant we may think our gifts or talents are,  we can expect God to do far beyond what can be imagined. “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.” (Ephesians 3:20). We simply need to step out in faith.

2 Peter 1:2 says, “May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” And Ecclesiastes 3: 11 says, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

The message of the feed the 5,000 is the miracle, and the miracle is, we are not alone. Jesus is with us, working the impossible. We simply need to let go of our lunches, so countless others can be satisfied—with bread, but also with more than bread. Because Jesus will multiply what we give to Him.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What ideas of images come to mind when you hear words like multiply or firstfruits?
  2. Does fear play a role in your multiplication thinking? What about debt?
  3. What areas of your life do you believe God is calling you to pursue more returns on His investment?
  4. If you start giving generously, where would you start? How do you think your life would change? 
  5. In your thinking, does giving generously mean money, or time and talents as well? Why?

I Want To Be That Person

“But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” – 2 Corinthians 3:16–18.

Sometimes you unexpectedly meet a person and you find yourself face to face with what it means to be more like Jesus. A person who has an acute acceptance of their dependence on Christ. They seem to be reminded of God’s love every day. I want to be that person.

The person that doesn’t view Christ as just an acquaintance. Rather He is my deepest and truest Friend. Christ is not my battery pack when I need a quick jolt; Christ is the power plant of my spiritual life. He generates my wisdom, my righteousness, my sanctification, and my redemption. He is the boast of my life. 1 Corinthians 1:30–31 says,  “And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

 I want to be the person who lives like Jesus, who healed bodies with a touch and who commanded death to flee with a word. Be like the Jesus who commanded waves to stop crashing and who commanded sinners to stop sinning. And most solemnly of all, I want to be the person that lives by the death of Christ, who was hammered to a cross in my place, and who shed His blood for my sins. I want to be the person who lives their life in light of the fact that Christ rose from the dead in power and glory.   

I want to be the person that never forgets and worse yet never ignores Christ while living in a loud and busy world. I want to be the person who knows that  keeping Christ in view is a fight, the central fight of my Christian life, and the central fight for my daily joy. But I also need to remember that this daily struggle to keep my eyes focused on Christ is not how I save myself.  No, my daily focus on Christ is a reminder that my full salvation is found in Jesus. “Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:25).

To the uttermost. Uttermost is one of those compound words for which we have no equivalent. It means that He is able to save unto all completeness, unto the total perfection of saving. Jeremiah 17:14 tells us, “Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise.” I want to be the person who asks where I would have been had not Jesus saved me to the uttermost.  I want to be the person who remembers that in spite of my sins, weaknesses, fears and failures, Christ saves to the uttermost.

I want to be the person who centers my life around Christ. I want to pursue Christ more than praise and applause, more than likes and shares, more than Twitter followers and more than my income statement. I want to be the person who wins the fight by keeping my eyes focused on the Savior.  I want to be the person who fights for focus in our daily lives by attending church, joining  a small group, by praying and having a quiet time to read and reflect on God’s word. These are the keys to personal growth and maturity. I do not want to be the person who settles for a Christian life that is less than it can be. Focusing on Christ is hard, but He is worth the fight.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do you feel the presence of God on a daily basis?
  2. Is it possible to practice the presence of God–take time each day–even for a few minutes to be aware of the presence of God? Yes or no? Why or why not?
  3. What does it mean to serve God? Is it a position, a role, or a mindset?
  4. In what circumstances are you most tempted to stop talking to God?  If you were to talk to Him in those circumstances, what would you want to hear from Him?
  5. Do you have a tendency to talk to God in “big moments” and not so much in the “in-between” moments? Why?
  6. Pray and ask God to give you a daily connection with Him.