Core scripture: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
Message: Does anyone else subscribe to a scripture of the day? Last week I was just sitting down to my quiet time when the K-Love verse of the day popped into my inbox: “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). There are times when I delete the verse without a second thought, but this one I kept. I thought about it. I prayed about it. I asked God who needed encouragement in my life, and He put two friends on my heart. It was game on for the rest of the day. I knew exactly what God needed from me. I needed to be an encourager.
I began by firing off two quick e-mails to the friends mentioned above. One was worried about an upcoming doctor’s appointment. The other was our church’s youth pastor, someone who never gets enough credit for what he does. Upon arriving to school, I eagerly sought out opportunities to compliment students on their outfits, new haircuts, or amazing work they had completed. I found a kid in my first hour class that probably wasn’t used to compliments. His grade had never risen above an 80 percent, but he had put his best foot forward, writing a solid essay for me. I tapped him on the shoulder.
“Hey, awesome work on your essay. Seriously, man. I loved it!”
Do you really want to make someone’s day? Find a kid you normally correct and give them a compliment. They will absolutely glow!
I didn’t stop there. It was a work day in my class, so I praised the kids that were using their time wisely. Of course, there were kids who needed a little kick in the you-know-what. Kids that needed a little TLC. I did my best to reach out to them in an earnest, positive tone. Instead of saying, “You can do better,” I said things like, “I know you can do this!” Sometimes it is all in the approach. It made me wonder how many times I had tried the drill sergeant approach only to see it blow up in my face. Ever done that? It might work for some, but it always makes me look silly in the end.
Midway through the day I found another opportunity during passing period. A girl was ranting about herself in a loud voice, complaining to nearby friends. “I am never going to get married. I mean, look at me! I am taller than every boy. Look at my fingers! They look like sticks on a tree. What guy is ever going to want to date me?” I pulled her aside.
“Do you really believe that?” I asked, eyebrows raised in surprise.
“YES!” she laughingly shouted back at me.
I smiled at one of her nearby friends. “Well, what do you think? What do you see when you see her?”
Her friend lit up the room with a smile, saying, “You’re beautiful!”
Boom! There it was again. The same smile that the first hour gentleman gave me. You see a smile like that and you can’t help but smile yourself. I kept the ball rolling all the way to the end of the day. With my boys. My wife. Heck, even the dog! Psalm 1:2 challenges us to “delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.” It was so fulfilling to live that out. Now, don’t get me wrong. I have fallen short plenty a time too, but to go where God needed me to go that day? It was perfect. Cathartic. All I ever needed.
What about you? It is time to open your eyes to opportunities that God has set before you. Meditate on His Word. Think about how it applies to your life. Give your heart to others, pouring yourself out in reverent service. Wherever He needs you, don’t be afraid to go there because if you follow His lead, you give others the gift you have already been exposed to. You give them a taste of the Holy Spirit.
“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).
Challenge: Reflect on what you think God might need from you today. Talk to Him in prayer, and whatever He lays on your heart, do it.
Video application: Derwin Gray was abandoned by his father as a child, but God told Derwin to forgive his father. Against what he desired, Derwin followed God’s lead and forgave his father. Watch this video to hear this amazing story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8Z0TGHJp3I
Journal/Accountability: Write down ideas about how you can use the spiritual gifts that God has given you to further his kingdom. Choose one or two that you would like to accomplish over the next week, and have a friend hold you accountable to doing it.
Quote: “If you look up into His face and say, ‘Yes, Lord, whatever it costs,’ at that moment He’ll flood your Life with His presence and power.” (Alan Redpath)
Bible story: The ultimate story of obedience in the Bible comes from Genesis 22. Abraham is asked by God to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, and he obeys. How would Abraham have felt as he was doing this? Do you think anything inside him was fighting against what God wanted him to do? How did he overcome his doubts? Would you have done the same thing?
Prayer: Lord, whatever You need me to do today, let me do it with a courageous heart. Amen.