14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
“The disciples are lights in the world, not calling attention to themselves but pointing the way of God. They obtain their light from the One who is the Light of the world. This visibility and service is expressed by Jesus in two illustrations: the city on the mountain and the candle placed on the lampstand. The light dispels darkness simply by being present. As one has said, ‘It does little good to curse the darkness; one should light a candle.’ And the motive is to illuminate the way of God for others, that by seeing our good works they may glorify God.” (Stuart Briscoe, The Preacher’s Commentary)
When I consider my story in Christ, it’s through individuals that I experienced God’s love and power and my life was changed. We are called to be influencers for Christ, to shine His light, reveal His love and illuminate God’s way for others. This is an amazing purpose and a calling!
Think of someone who has influenced you for Christ. What are some ways they illuminated God’s way for you? Would you be that person for someone else?
Pray: Father, use us for your glory. May our lives illuminate God’s way for others around us. In Jesus Name, Amen.
1 You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water. 2 I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory. 3 Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you. 4 I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands. 5 I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
“There comes a point in the lives of many of us when only an intimate relationship with God will satisfy. Many traditional Christians, including evangelicals, go through life with a low sense of spiritual vitality. Our days are largely consumed with secular pursuits. Prayer and Bible reading are one-a-day ‘fast food’ items. ‘Real life’ is not life in the Spirit, but life in the flesh. It is reaching here and there, doing this and that, and fitting in Christian activity largely to meet our social needs. We may close the night in prayer as a ‘spiritual glaze’ over our real interests, but there is no manifest heart-hunger for God.” (Stuart Briscoe. The Preacher’s Commentary)
What are some of the ways we are ruining our appetite for God’s presence and purpose?
Spend time today worshipping to “In Over My Head” by Jenn Johnson and surrender your life to Him. (To listen click here)
10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
The good works that Paul is talking about here are works that are tied to our eternal destiny in Christ. When we grow more and more knowing the true value of our lives, who we are, how we are God’s handiwork, we see that our works have eternal impact on those we come in contact with. What may seem insignificant or common can have eternal impact on someone’s life.
Let’s watch the testimony and consider how Edward came alive as He aligned his life and work to His purpose. (click here)
How we live this out His purpose may look different in our day to day but that purpose that comes from knowing who we are gives meaning to everything. It doesn’t matter whether you are a student, educated or not, working professional, parent, single, married, social status, background, etc. In Christ, we have this all-consuming purpose to love God and to love others.
Spend a moment in prayer asking God to make us alive as we participate in His purpose!
12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
“Step 1 to knowing God’s story is having a front row view of God’s mercy. God’s mercy reminds us that we have escaped death. When you escape death, you expect people to live differently. Jesus spared us from death! The most appropriate, reasonable thing you can do with your life is to live differently. Rather than using our lives for wrong purpose, we have been set apart for His purpose. God has taken common human beings to make us holy, uncommon for His glory. This world has a pattern that cycles. Do not conform to the pattern of this world. When we are connected to the Creator of all things, we are set free! Be renewed in your mind to understand what God’s will looks like. Let’s fight to think differently about life everyday.” Adapted from 2019 Fall College Conference.
What is one area in your life that needs to be aligned to His will?
Let’s spend time today worshipping to “Surrounded” by Upper Room. (To listen click here)
Pray for breakthrough in that area that is hindering your from living out His purpose.
Psalm 57:2 (NLT) 2 I cry out to God Most High,
to God who will fulfill his purpose for me.
“Often the search for purpose, meaning, significance begins with us. We look at our desires, our talents. We look within. One of the lies we believe is we think we could create our own stories. For us, it’s about understanding God’s story, the gospel story. We don’t create anything. We discover it. In order to do so, we need to immerse ourselves in God’s Word. Give God’s Word a chance to change you from inside out. Let’s allow ourselves to be affected by His Word.” Adapted from 2019 Fall College Conference.
Watch these video testimonies from the Bible App. (click here)
Today, in the Bible App, listen to either John 1 or Romans 8 multiple times if you can. Let’s be immersed in His truth!
Father, we don’t want to create our own story. We cry out to you! We turn to you! Reveal to us Your story. We trust that You will fulfill your purpose for us. In Jesus name, Amen.
May the Lord bless you from Zion;
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life.
May you live to see your children’s children—
peace be on Israel.
“The word ‘prosperity’ (tov) in verse 5b often functions as a synonym for shalom, ‘peace,’ ‘wholeness,’ or ‘goodness’ (Isa 52:7; Jer 8:15). In Psalm 128 the psalmist asks the Lord to bless the hearer from Zion so that he may experience the peace and wholeness of Zion. In turn, the peace and wholeness of Jerusalem will allow the hearer to live a long life—’to see your children’s children.’” [Tucker, W. Dennis, Psalms, Volume 2(The NIV Application Commentary), pp. 805-806]
How does this world define prosperity?
How is the prosperity of Jerusalem defined in verse 5b?
Do we recognize where all of our blessings come and from who? Or do we take God’s blessings for granted?
As we live as pilgrims in this life, longing for our heavenly home, let’s look up to our God from whom all blessings flow and praise Him! God desires to bless us and for us to experience the happiness that will last as we walk in His ways. Let’s pray for ourselves and those in our families, in our communities, that we will experience this peace, wholeness, and goodness in God!
Your wife will bear children as a vine bears grapes,
your household lush as a vineyard,
The children around your table
as fresh and promising as young olive shoots.
Stand in awe of God’s Yes.
Oh, how he blesses the one who fears God!
“Blessing has inherent in it the power to increase. It functions by sharing and delight in life…The blessed gives to the others, because the strength instinctively pours from him and up around him…The characteristic of blessing is to multiply.”…As we learn to give and to share, our vitality increases, and the people around us become become fruitful vines and olive shoots at our tables.” [Peterson, Eugene H. A Long Obedience in the Same Direction]
The phrase, “one who fears God” appears again in verse 4. For those who fear God, in what other areas of life can they see God’s blessing and fruitfulness?
What are the blessings that are found in these verses?
In living for the Lord, do you believe that God can pour out His blessings to others around you and through you?
Let’s pray for increase of God’s blessing in our families, respective ministries, churches, that many will be at our tables with us sharing in God’s blessings that will last!
Psalm 128:2 (NRSV) You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands;
you shall be happy, and it shall go well with you.
“In Psalm 127 individuals are cautioned, if not outright chastised, for working too hard out of the belief that they can secure their own future. Psalm 128 begins with the universal claim concerning the blessed person. Psalm 128 provides no hint of self-reliance but instead receives all ‘blessings and prosperity’ (v. 2b) as a gift from God.” [Tucker, W. Dennis, Psalms, Volume 2 (The NIV Application Commentary)]
How does this verse bring out the relationship between working and being happy?
Do we consider work to be a blessing from the Lord?
What are the promises found in these verses?
The psalmist sees the value of work and the fruit it produces. Knowing that God is involved with us in our work and that it is God who blesses it, should bring us great joy!
Read Colossians 3:23 (NLT) and Romans 12:1-2 (MSG):
Colossians 3:23 (NLT) – “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”
Romans 12:1-2 (MSG) – “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.”
Let’s spend time thanking God for work and being able to experience happiness in our work. Let’s ask for His strength to do it all for the Lord!
All you who fear God, how blessed you are!
how happily you walk on his smooth straight road!
“Walk on his smooth straight road.’ Not only do we let God be God as he really is, but we start doing the things for which he made us. We take a certain route; we follow certain directions; we do specified things. There are ethical standards to follow, there are moral values to foster, there are spiritual disciplines to practice, there is social justice to pursue, there are personal relationships to develop…Too many people are willfully refusing to pay attention to the One who wills our happiness and ignorantly supposing that the Christian way is a harder way to get what they want than doing it on their own. They are wrong. God’s ways and God’s presence are where we experience the happiness that lasts.” [Peterson, Eugene, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction]
How would you fill in the blank? “If only ________________, I would be happy.”
How would you describe someone who “walk on his smooth straight road”? How would you describe the road that is not smooth or straight?
Would it make sense to take a road that is not smooth or straight? Where would that lead us?
Walking in God’s ways is the way to happiness and blessing! Spend a moment in prayer, placing your life in God’s hands. Pray for God’s grace to live a life of obedience and walk on his smooth straight road to happiness that lasts.
“In this phrase, ‘fear’ is not about being intimidated or ‘shaking in your boots’ before the divine presence. It is rather about reverence or awe before YHWH, and the observation that whom one reveres, one obeys. To fear YHWH is to entrust all of life and hope to this one and follow the divine guidance. The perspective of the psalm is that such a decision about lifestyle makes a difference; living in line with YHWH’s teaching brings a profound joy and completeness to life.” [Brueggemann, Walter. Psalms (New Cambridge Bible Commentary), pp. 545-546]
According to Psalm 128:1, who are happy?
What does it mean for you to fear the Lord in your current circumstance?
What other fears can we be driven by, rather than by the fear of God? What are some fears that can lead to missing out on the happiness that God has in store for you?
Let’s spend a moment in prayer, let’s lay down all the fears that we may be struggling with before the Lord and entrust our lives to Him again.