Three

I Waked Up!

Read: John 10:8-10

“ .. . I have come that you may have life and have it to the full.”

Do you ever have those daily moments that you just live for? I remember a few years ago, when my daughter was only two.  I loved to be the one to get her out of bed, because I knew her routine. She would drop her beloved pacifier onto the pillow, throw her arms out as far as she can reach, and declare, “Daddy, I waked up!”

Now, I know her grammar isn't great, but her declaration is clear – being awake is better than asleep! Every fiber of her every muscle squeals out “Another new day, and I'm ready.”

For two-year old children, sleep is the enemy that steals the potential joy of waking moments and nothing beats starting a new day. Who knows what new toy might thrill? What new taste might she encounter for the first time? Perhaps today she'll swim, or meet a new friend, or rock in the chair with grandma? Yes, a new day ... what an opportunity life is.

It is reminiscent of the apparent zeal God has for life. The Bible is loaded with Gardens- a place of life. The Father sows seeds- to bring about life. On and on it goes.

If you are like me, sometimes my foggy first thoughts in a day are: “Oh no; that dreadful meeting today.” “Rats, the lawn needs mowed and the windows need washed.” “Not Monday again!” Sometimes I gripe and moan as if the waking day is stealing from the wonder of sleep. If that is the essence of adulthood, then I need a return to childhood.

More importantly, I need a return to the Bible, where I read, “because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).

What if today is another adventure into what God has for my life? Perhaps today is a day that I make a new friend, experience a new joy, or discover a new opportunity. Since life is short, God would have me welcome every day.

It really is a great day to be alive, and how you feel about a day when you lay down at night is largely influenced by how you approached it when you got up in the morning. So, for the glory of the God who gives you life, go live this day!

Reflection:

Are your thought patterns toward today negative or positive?

Do you believe God has good plans for your life today?

Pastor Todd Crofford of Real Life Wesleyan

Two

Now That's Impressive

Read: John 13:1-17

''I have set you an example (by being your servant) that you should do as I have done for you. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”

-John 13:15

O, what creatures do to impress one another! The peacock spreads a vast fan of colors. Rhinos charge and fight with terrific ferocity. The blue-tongued skink startles its enemies with the enormity of its tongue. The roar of a bear is deafening.

Some impress for status, others bedazzle for mating rights, and some do so for protection, but no creature is more impressive at impressing than humans. How good we are at developing pecking orders, rising to the top, defending our rights, and getting our way. In fact, that's exactly what the disciples were in the middle of doing when Jesus got down and washed their feet.

Though we pay lip service to service, most of us are an awful lot like the disciples. We seldom view the way up as down. We'd rather carefully plan for our own promotion and success. We actually do so out of insecurity.

We receive tremendous insight not only into how God thinks of us but also into what God expects of us when we see Jesus model servanthood. In turn, when we elevate servanthood, we demonstrate that Christians can live inverted from the world's me-first philosophy.

Jesus was very secure in who he was and God's plans for his life. Such security allowed him to model servanthood without concern of “losing something.” If, as Christians, we become equally convinced that God is working in our lives for his good purpose, we will more naturally pursue servanthood as well.

Reflection:

Pray this prayer today…

Lord, you were a servant of all and you called me to be the same. Please reveal to me today where and how I need to serve. Help me to be a servant in my family. Help me to be a servant in my job/school. Help me to be a servant in my community. Help me to be a servant in my church.

Pastor Todd Crofford of Real Life Wesleyan

One

The Sorrowing Sower

Read: Psalm 126

Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.

-Psalm 126:5-6

I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed But if it dies, it produces many seeds.

-John 12:24-25

Sowing in tears is something unfamiliar to us who live in a land of plenty and only understand bounty and abundance. This parable makes much more sense to one who understands the precious value of seed that is sown.

In Africa, planting season is often a time when the farmer's family is down to very little food. One evening, the entire family is headed to bed with hungry stomachs when the youngest son rushes into the house to declare, “I have found grain in our shed, we can eat!” Yet the father knows that this is the seed grain that absolutely must not be touched. To eat the seed grain is to seal their fate and to end any hope of harvest and life.

Imagine the emotions of the farmer that next morning who knows his children are home hungry while he is out scattering this precious grain in the ground. That which could be kneaded in the pan is being tossed in the dirt. The father is sowing in tears. Yet he gives away to the ground that which is most precious in return for the promise of a harvest.

What joy awaits in the harvest when the purpose of that seed is fulfilled and once again there can be ample food on the table. Now the farmer, who once walked the field in tears, comes back from, the field with songs of joy. In the same way, our Heavenly Father gave up his own Son, the most precious possession he had. At an immeasurably great cost, Jesus became “the kernel of wheat that fell to the ground.” Through Christ's death, the seed of our forgiveness and eternal life was forever sown, and you and I are the plentiful harvest that results.

In this way, the Father rejoices over us and somehow counts us worthy of the great cost of sowing the truth of his love through the death of his son. Consider how we might respond to all God· has done for us, but first we must consider what kind of God would invest so lavishly in us that we would be called the children of God?

Reflection:

Can you recall all Jesus went through so we would know the truth of his love for us?

 

How does this cause you to want to respond in your own daily life?

 

Pastor Todd Crofford of Real Life Wesleyan