Sunday, March 31, 2013

DAY 31: Learn what THIS Means

“But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” - Matthew 9:13 

We often read passages like this and just... move on. But if Jesus told His followers to learn something from a statement like this, then we really should! 

Today, take 15 minutes and search out this saying, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice”. If you have an internet connection or a concordance, you have all you need. 

Where did the statement come from? Was He quoting another scripture?? If so, what was it? What is the significance of such a scripture and can you find it elsewhere in the Bible? Search it out. Look at it in multiple versions. Look at the Greek. Does it show up in Hebrew?

Find two or three scriptures that support this statement directly and maybe another one or two not so directly. Read a few verses before this scripture and a few after it to understand it in context. Put down everything you find on paper or in a document and see if you understand what Jesus was trying to teach them. 

When you can repeat the statement in your own words in a very simple and direct way, you’ve got it. 

NOW, live it!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

DAY 30: Spend Time with Jesus!

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ - Matthew 7:21-23

This scripture could seem like a contradiction. But it’s not. In fact, in this Scripture are two VERY important messages: 

  1. Only those that DO the will of the Father will enter into the Kingdom. 
  2. Only those that KNOW Jesus (intimately) will be welcomed into His presence. 

Some elevate one practice above the other, intimacy or obedience, but both are crucial for the believer. We must live a lifestyle of both doing HIS word and knowing THE Word (Jesus). We’ve been focused for the last month on DOING the words of Jesus, but today, we’re going to take time out to get with Jesus and find this place of intimacy with Him. 

Take 30 minutes today and find a quiet place to get alone where you can have a conversation with the Lord. Just like you would a friend. When you get alone, begin by talking to the Lord. Tell Him you love Him and pour out your heart to Him in worship. Just you and Him, no music, no frills, nothing. 

Then, as you would anyone you know and love, tell Him what you are thinking, tell Him what you have been feeling, any fears you may be having or any struggles you are currently experiencing. Repent or ask forgiveness for where you have neglected Him in your life... Ask Him for help in overcoming any challenges and then... WAIT. 

With any friendship there is talking and there is listening. Work in some listening and waiting time with Jesus. You’ve said your piece, now let Him speak back to you. Get relaxed and allow yourself to EXPERIENCE His Presence. 

This is what being friends with God looks like. Let it become your LIFESTYLE.

Friday, March 29, 2013

DAY 29: Watch Out!

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. - Matthew 7:15-20 

False prophets, by biblical definition, comes in sheep’s clothing. Sheep’s clothing could be considered soft, safe, unassuming and non-threatening... everything a sheep is! Inside however is something infinitely more nefarious. The inside is what counts and inside, false prophets are ravenous wolves, hell bent and bloodthirsty for your destruction! Prophets are the spokesperson or mouthpiece for a King or kingdom. A false prophet has never come to you and challenged you and a true prophet has never come to you and made you feel comfortable! 

A very practical real world example is the siren song of debt. Debt is so commercialized we are almost proud of what credit card we carry (What’s in YOUR wallet?). The terms seem so friendly (0% interest! Upload your own picture!) and the rewards so great (airline miles, 5% cash back!) you almost forget that you are going in debt and that god commands us NOT to! 

“Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.” - Romans 13:8 

That is one example, but many of us are in bondage to many other things that have been “prophesied” to us! Things like pornography, immorality and spiritual compromise/laziness all come to us in sheep’s clothing, through the mouths of someone... soft. 

Knowing this, take 5 minutes and ask the Holy Spirit to show you where you may be under the influence of a false prophet. Look for softness... look for bad fruit (debt, marriage problems, etc.) and write it down! 

Then, take 10 minutes and pray through your list, asking the Lord to show you the HARD TRUTH. Often, true prophets and true words are hard to take (Get out of debt, live simply, be ontent), but the fruit is good. Search the Scripture for the antidote to false prophecy... the TRUTH! 

Have false prophets and their words had an effect on you?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

DAY 28: Enter Through the Narrow Gate

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. - Matthew 7:13-14 

Jesus’ way is NARROW. Narrow means: 

  • of little breadth or width; 
  • limited in extent or space; 
  • limited in range or scope: 

These days, such “narrowness” is seen as a problem or liability. Often, people are accused of being “narrow minded”, meaning not open to new ideas. Well, I have news for you, Jesus is VERY narrow minded and NOT open at all to new ideas! To enter life, we have to get on HIS narrow way! The road that ultimately leads to our destruction is BROAD, wide and VERY open to new ideas! 

Take 10 minutes and honestly assess your life. Ask yourself the question, “What things in my life am I doing simply because it’s popular or expected in our culture?” You are looking for ways or practices that find you on common ground with most people and are opposed to scriptural commandments (ie- the broad road). It could be things like holding debt, allowing impurity or uncleanness in your home or marriage, gossip/slander... whatever! Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal them to you and commit them to paper. 

Take 5 minutes and REPENT. Go through your list and verbally confess areas of compromise in your life. Get off the broad road and shed what you have in common with those heading towards death! Ask the Holy Spirit to LEAD you back to the path of life (John 16:13) and DO WHAT HE SAYS! 

The road to Destruction is crowded, the road to Life is sometimes lonely. Welcome to the narrow road. Not a lot of us travelling here, but the destination is worth it!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

DAY 27: DO the Golden Rule!

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” - Matthew 7:12 

This may be one of the single most recognized verses and passages in the scriptures. Countless millions would say they understand and “try” to live by the golden Rule. But think about it, if people actually DID this scripture there would be no war, theft, rape, murder, extortion, divorce, child abuse, etc. No one wants pain and suffering for themselves (unless they are demon possessed), so if they did to OTHERS what they wanted for themselves, things on this planet would be AMAZING!! Think about it. 

Today, you will LIVE the “Golden Rule”. You will approach every transaction with another person in light of this scripture. In every interaction you have today you will ask yourself this question, “How would I like to be treated??” Once you have the answer to that question... act accordingly! 

You can do this in your marriage, with your kids, with your family, friends and even co-workers. It may very well revolutionize your LIFE!! 

What do you think?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

DAY 26: Ask, Seek, Knock!

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. - Matthew 7:7,8 

Today, you will ASK and RECEIVE, you will SEEK and FIND and you will KNOCK and the door will OPEN! Why? Because He said it would be so! 

SO MANY believers give up too easily and too quickly. In the Christian life, if we don’t quit, we’ll win! Another way to read this scripture is: Ask (and keep on asking), seek (and keep on seeking) and knock (and keep on knocking). After you have asked... SEEK! After you have sought... KNOCK! After you have knocked... ASK AGAIN! 

Write out on a piece of paper 5 things that you have prayed for that have not yet come to pass... You might have to dig deep as often we bury our disappointments. It could be physical healing, financial blessing or even a loved one to come to know Jesus. Write or list them in order of priority to you. 

Now, take 5 minutes and pray through the list, ASKING God to grant your requests. Ask Him for the things you are believing for, in detail, by name... BE SPECIFIC! 

Then, take 5 minutes to SEEK out the Scripture and find a corresponding verse to whatever you are believing for. You could look them up in a Bible program like this one. Or you could use Google, which is fantastic for such searches: “Healing Scriptures” , “Financial Blessing Scriptures” , etc. 

Lastly, take 5 minutes and KNOCK by praying the scripture, OUT LOUD to the Lord, claiming His Word on behalf of your situation! 

At the VERY LEAST, you faith will increase by doing this Scripture, but I would be surprised if some of you weren’t healed by doing this. 

Let us know in the comments!

Monday, March 25, 2013

DAY 25: Take the Plank OUT!

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. - Matthew 7:3-5 

Have you ever wondered how we can be so gracious to ourselves and so judgmental towards others?? I have often wondered what kind of deception that must be to see everyone else’s faults SO CLEARLY, yet be totally oblivious to our own faults. 

Today, we’re going to fix that. We’re going to get a hold of the plank in our own eye and yank it out! We’re going to ignore and otherwise pretend the splinter in our brother’s eye today and focus solely on what we are dealing with. 

Today, take 5 minutes and ask the Lord to show you 1-2 people in your life that you can trust. These are people that have shown a genuine interest in your well being and LOVE YOU. It could be your spouse, it could be your kids, it could be a friend or family member. 

Then, find a few minutes today and meet with, call, write or email that person (or persons) to ask them this question: “Do you see 1-2 things in my life that I really need to improve or cut out?” After you pose the question, STOP TALKING. Let them talk. It may be difficult for them to open up and be honest with you, but I promise, if you can get them talking, what they say will be SO helpful. Write this information down and commit it to paper or a document. 

Whenever you get that feedback, find a quiet place and get alone with the Lord. Take 10 minutes and ask Him to bring the “plank” to light. He may show you something different than what others see, either things done in secret or private sins may come to light. Ask for His help in removing it. If it’s an area of sin, confess it and turn from it. God gives grace to humble people, so humble yourself. 

Now, with your vision clear, you can help your brother! 

How’s your vision now?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

DAY 24: Don’t Judge!

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. - Matthew 7:1-2 

The Greek word for judge here means: 

  1. to separate, put asunder, to pick out, select, choose 
  2. to approve, esteem, to prefer 
  3. to be of opinion, deem, think, to be of opinion 
  4. to determine, resolve, decree 
  5. to pronounce an opinion concerning right and wrong 

Most of these definitions have much to do with an OPINION. To not judge could mean: to not offer an OPINION. These days, we all love to offer our opinion, don’t we? We all have one and we LOVE the opportunity to share ours. 

The consumer culture in America has created a picky group of BUYERS that believe the world owes them a good experience. The Burger King “Your Way, Right Away!” ethic has even invaded the church! Instead of committed church members looking for how they can serve in a fellowship, we now have spoiled church “shoppers” that bounce from place to place, looking for the right church and pastor to cater to their every whim meet their spiritual needs. 

*steps off soapbox* 

TODAY, you are not going to offer our opinion on ANYTHING. You are going to just keep it to yourself. You are going to practice a little self control and NOT tell people what you think. In person, on the phone, on social media. Just keep your opinions and judgments to yourself today. 

Ask the Holy Spirit to help you, this one might be tough. 

Tell us how it went.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

DAY 23: Don’t Worry About Tomorrow!

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” - Matthew 6:34 

Our worry free week continues! Today we’re going to add another aspect to not worrying. We’re NOT going to worry about our Tomorrow (The FUTURE). When you break it down, almost all fear and anxiety surrounding finances and provision has to do with the future: “Will I lose my job?” “How will I make our rent payment??” 

Fear of the future can be a tyrant, can’t it? 

Jesus starts this command to not worry about tomorrow by first saying, “Therefore”. One basic element of scripture study is “Whenever you see a THEREFORE, go back and see what it’s THERE FOR”. Jesus is saying that we don’t have to worry about our future, because of everything we have just learned in the scriptures prior to this statement. 

We learned that: 

  • God cares for the birds and will care for us because we have MUCH GREATER VALUE! 
  • God clothes the grass of the field and will also CLOTHE US! 
  • God knows what we need! 
  • If we seek FIRST the Kingdom, anything we need will be GIVEN to us! 

Take 5 minutes and write a list of things pending in the future that bring you anxiety. (You will actually need a pen and paper today.) Get real with yourself. Identify the points of anxiety in future things, coming payments, financial needs, health needs and commit as many as you can to paper. 

Take 5 minutes, re-read the list and think of all that you have learned. God KNOWS what you need. You are INVALUABLE to God and HE WILL provide for you! If you seek FIRST the kingdom, He will provide EVERYTHING you need! 

Take the paper, fold it in half, fold it in half again. Get a lighter or match and find a SAFE place to burn the paper. (fireplace, firepit, sink?) SET THE PAPER ON FIRE and watch your anxieties burn up! 

Now, get on with TODAY unencumbered with anxiety about tomorrow. 

Tell us how you feel!

Friday, March 22, 2013

DAY 22: Seek First the Kingdom!

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” - Matthew 6:33 

Today, we’re going to put aside worrying about ourselves, what we will eat, what we will drink, what we will wear, where we will live, etc. and focus FIRST on seeking the Kingdom! 

The word Kingdom is derived from two words, “KINGS” and “DOMINION”. Literally speaking it means the place or territory that is under the control (dominion) of the king! 

So what does that look like?

“For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” - Romans 14:17 

And also:

 “For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power.” - I Corinthians 4:20 

So scripturally speaking, the kingdom is: 

  • Righteousness 
  • Peace 
  • Joy 
  • Power (IN the Holy Ghost!) 

Today, you will seek FIRST the rule of King Jesus. You will bring righteousness, peace, joy or power to a situation or person you know. You will look for opportunities to DO the right thing, bring peace, bring joy or demonstrate power! You can pray for peace or joy or release the power of the Holy Spirit on someone’s life, illness or injury. 

And what can you expect when you seek FIRST the Kingdom? “All these things (food, drink, clothing, etc.) will be GIVEN to you as well”. So rejoice! Your needs will be met! 

Get out there! Go do it! Tell us how it went!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

DAY 21: Don’t Worry About Food, Drink or Clothing!

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.” - Matthew 6:31-32 

This is a week of NOT WORRYING! 

American Christians especially are CONSUMED with anxiety about everything in our lives. Where we will live, what we will eat, where we will work, etc. etc. etc. Did you know that “Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older (18% of U.S. population).” So when Jesus gives us HIS prescription to eliminate worry and stress in our lives, why do so many Christians gloss over His commands?? 

We’ve already heard, “Don’t worry about your life”, “Look at the birds” and “Consider the lilies” and if you’ve done them, your confidence in God’s ability and WILLINGNESS to provide for your needs is growing! Today should be icing on the cake! 

Today, take 15 minutes to meditate on and ponder this very important reality, “Your heavenly Father knows that you need these things (food, drink, clothing, housing, cars, jobs, etc.)” 

This was one of the most powerful revelations I have ever had. 

In 2004, we were completely in debt up to our eyeballs after a failed business venture. I was stressed out, overworked and nearly bankrupt! I had an encounter with God while lying on the floor at a conference that changed me. I was complaining and whining to God about how hard it was, how scared I was of not being able to provide for my family, my wife and my kids when God interrupted me! He simply spoke to me and said, “Before your wife is your wife, she is MY DAUGHTER! Before your son is your son, he is MY SON!” Instantly I realized that God WANTED to provide for them more than I did. I felt ashamed to even THINK that God didn’t care about our needs. When I realized that He knew what they needed and WANTED to provide for them, a feeling of calm rested over me that hasn’t left to this day! 


Think about that and tell us how YOU feel after 4 days of pondering His goodness!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

DAY 20: Consider the Lilies!

“So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” - Matthew 6:28-30 

Today’s command from Jesus is directly tied to the last two: “DON’T WORRY!” and “Look at the Birds!” 

Again, this “Do-Votional” may seem a little silly to you... it even does to me. But perhaps the reason that we as Americans are so consumed with anxiety and fear because we have been unwilling to do silly things like “Look at the birds” or “Consider the lilies”?? Financial anxiety in people’s lives is at an all time high and here is the solution that Jesus Gave to His children... “Look at the Birds” and “Consider the Lilies”. They aren’t just cute statements, they are supporting evidence for His first command on this theme... DON’T WORRY ABOUT YOUR LIFE! 

I don’t know about you, but I am ready to do whatever He says... even if it seems silly. 

So today, we’re going to take 15 minutes to consider the lilies of the field. If you have beautiful flowers growing in a field near you, then by all means, get in the car and go and see them in person! But if you must, look them up online. I did a little Youtube search and found several videos of lilies in fields... something like this

As you are considering them, think of what Jesus told us to think of: how they grow, how they don’t toil or spin yet God CLOTHED THEM. They didn’t work for one second to be so beautiful and yet not even Solomon in all his riches had better garments! So consider this fact, “if God clothes the grass of the field, will He not MUCH MORE clothe you??” 

The truth is, He will! 

Silly? Maybe. But I’m doing it. Are you?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

DAY 19: Look at the Birds!

“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?” - Matthew 6:26-27 

Today’s command from Jesus is directly tied to the last one: “DON’T WORRY!” 

I was tempted to pass this one up, but just couldn’t get away from a command that Jesus made. He told us to look at the birds for the air for a reason. He was teaching a crucial concept of the kingdom and of being a child of God and to illustrate this important principle He said, “Look at the birds of the air!” So THAT is what we’re going to do! 

So today, get out and find a place where you can see the birds. Look up a local birdwatching like this one. We have several local parks that you could find a bench to sit on and watch the birds come and go. Once you’ve found the place, carve out a few minutes today to go there and sit for at least 15 minutes watching the birds come and go. 

While you are still there watching them, take a few minutes and take in the fact that they aren’t obsessed with their careers, their education or making a living, yet they are provided for by God. These little insignificant birds are important enough for the Lord to care for. When they flock in great numbers, think about what Jesus said, “Aren’t you much more valuable than they?” As a human being, especially as a child of God, you are the crowning achievement of God’s creation! Think on that! 

Considering God’s providential care for “insignificant” animals and then comparing your GREAT value as one of His kids should help the worry melt away! Plus, you got a little bit of sunshine! 

Tell us what you think in the comments.

Monday, March 18, 2013

DAY 18: Don’t Worry About Your Life!

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? - Matthew 6:25 

This is going to be a GOOD day. Today, you are NOT going to worry. You’re not going to worry about your life for AT LEAST 24 hours! 

How will you do it? Like the Bible says: 

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 4:6-7 

Take 5 minutes and write a short list of the top 5 things that rob you of your peace. This is a list of the 5 things that most often cause you anxiety. They could be finances, your health, your children, relationships, your job, whatever! Now, re-write them in order of priority. If you’ve been honest and done your homework, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what is causing you to worry. 

Then, take 10 minutes, get on your knees and pray through each item on your list, starting from the least important. You’re going to SPECIFICALLY do the three things, EXACTLY as the Bible says: 

  1. Prayer: Communicate with God about a particular issue 
  2. Supplication: humbly requesting God's HELP with a particular issue 
  3. Thanksgiving: trust Him by thanking Him for taking care of it! 

After doing this, you will get up and NOT WORRY for the rest of the day. This is a WORRY FREE day! If you are tempted to worry, just remember, You have already spoken to God about this, He’s ON IT! 

Tell us how that felt in the comment section!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

DAY 17: Store Up Heavenly Treasures!

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. - Matthew 6:19-21 

It’s smart to save money. Spending all that you have is foolish: 

“There is desirable treasure, And oil in the dwelling of the wise, But a foolish man squanders it.” - Proverbs 21:20 

So God is NOT telling us to spend all that we have, but rather to invest in HEAVEN! There is an entire train of thought here that I am tempted to take, but let’s keep it very simple: 

Today, take 5 minutes and decide how much you are going to INVEST. You are going to take some money out of your savings account, your rainy day fund or under your mattress. Financial advisors would say, “NO!” but God says, “YES!” The amount is up to you. But if it doesn’t take faith, it’s not enough. God doesn’t tell EVERYONE to give ALL, but He tells EVERYONE to give SOMETHING. 

Today, you are going to store up or invest in... HEAVEN! Some people invest in Apple, Google or Microsoft. Some people invest in real estate or their education. But today, YOU are going to lay up for yourself a treasure, in HEAVEN! 

How do you do this? 

You give to your church or into a fruitful kingdom work. You sow to the poor. You invest in that which is eternal. So go. Write a check and drop it in the mail. Go online and GIVE. Trust that God will cover your investment and pay it back in interest. 

Rejoice, knowing that you have an eternal reward! But don’t tell anyone... you don’t want to lose your reward.

Saturday, March 16, 2013


“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” - Matthew 6:14,15 

This scriptural commandment is too serious to simply gloss over in one prayer. We need to come back and revisit this SERIOUSLY. Many Christians glibly “forgive” folks that have hurt or wounded them, but when we delve a little deeper, the pain is still there and still real. 

Forgiveness that Jesus is talking about is from the heart. 

“So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.” - Matthew 18:35 

True "heart forgiveness" in our world looks like this: 

“Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” - Luke 23:34 

When you can truly intercede to God the Father for the ones that have hurt you, you KNOW that you have forgiven them from the heart. Know that we have been accused, slandered and offended, but Jesus forgave FROM HIS HEART the very men that crucified Him! Today, you will too. 

Take 5 minutes and write down a short list of anyone you can think of that has hurt, wounded, slandered or offended you. perhaps you were sexually abused or cheated on by a spouse? Perhaps you were taken advantage of by friends or disowned by parents. Whatever it is, write it down. 

Now, take 10 minutes and BY NAME forgive each and every one of these people that have hurt you, SPECIFICALLY naming their offense against you... OUT. LOUD. Because Jesus forgave you, you can make a choice to forgive them today. Form the words with your mouth, “I forgive *whoever* for *name offense*. If you are taking this seriously, it may take more than ten minutes. 

So... you look GREAT! You probably have lost 10 lbs. of baggage and are beaming! Tell us how that felt in the comments.

Friday, March 15, 2013

DAY 15: Fast in Secret!

“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. - Matthew 6:16-18 

Today, you are going to be fresh faced, chipper and energetic! Oh yeah, you’ll also be HUNGRY! Fasting is a spiritual discipline forgotten about in most of the American church today. But you aren’t like most of the church in America today, are you?? Of course not! You’re actually DOING the Word! 

Fasting is simply NOT EATING. I know, it’s complicated, but today, you are going to fast. From the time you read this until this evening... DON’T EAT! But more than that, what Jesus commanded was to not let others know that you are fasting. Don’t be obvious. You can’t go around moping about being hungry and expect a reward from the Lord now can you?? Do what the Bible says, wash your face, comb your hair, pop a breath mint and don’t advertise the fact that you aren’t eating. It’s a secret between you and God. Keep it that way! 

Before you break your fast, take 5 minutes and thank God for the reward you will get in eternity! Turn on a happy song, dance and thank God for your eternal reward that can NEVER be taken away! 

Don’t tell us anything in the comments. It’s a secret between you and God... Shhhhhh!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

DAY 14: Pray THIS WAY!

 “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” - Matthew 6:7-13 

Today, we will pray the way Jesus told us to pray, the Lord’s Prayer. We won’t babble on and on, repeat a “mantra” or try to impress God with our many words. We will pray WHAT He told us, HOW He told us. 

Take 15 minutes and pray through the Lord’s Prayer. You can pray through each step and it might go something like this: 

  • Acknowledge Him as your Father 
  • Bless, honor and adore His Holy Name(s)
  • Pray for His Kingdom to COME
  • Pray for His Will to be DONE
  • Ask Him to grant you forgiveness for your sins
  • Forgive those you have sinned against you
  • Ask to be delivered from temptation
  • Ask for deliverance from the enemy and all his schemes
  • Honor and bless Him as all powerful and in control! 

Felt good, didn’t it? Tell us how that compares to your normal prayers in the comments.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

DAY 13: Pray in Secret!

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” - Matthew 6:5-6 

Today, we’re going to go old school and PRAY IN SECRET! Before there were Facebook prayer groups, 24/7 televised/web streamed prayer “furnaces”, 48 hour prayer rallies or big prayer conventions being broadcast LIVE on tv, people used to pray by: 

  • Going into their room 
  • Closing their door 
  • Talking to God... in Secret! 

Today, locate a quiet, private place in your home. If you are single or without kids, this will be a piece of cake. If you are married, with kids, this can be a real challenge. You, like me, might have to find a quiet spot OUTSIDE. So first, locate your spot. 

Then, take 15 minutes, get alone with God, close the door and just talk to Him. Tell Him how you feel about Him. Ask Him for help with your needs. Unload every burden you have between you and Jesus. Tell no one what you did, how you did it or what came of it. Just DO it. 

Congratulations! You now have a secret with God! Come back to that place as often as you can and do it again... Tell no one, post nothing... Shhhhh!! Don’t lose your reward!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

DAY 12: Give in Secret!

“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” - Matthew 6:2-4 

This is ANOTHER highly interactive day of DOING the Word! On Day Two, we did a public good deed, out in front of everyone so they would praise God. Today, it’s between you and the Lord. 

Today, take 5 minutes and scrounge up some cash to bless someone with... it doesn’t take much. Do without something if needed. Have a meal of rice and beans... or you could just... FAST! Try scrounging together all your coins and taking them to one of those CoinStar things and get some cash?? Now, for those of you that can do more, give more!! A big gift ($100 or more) would be fun to give away, wouldn’t it?? 

Now that you have your money together, take 5 minutes and think of someone who is truly needy. it could be the guy on the street, it could be a neighbor going through a hard time or it could be a family member. Write down a short list on a piece of paper or in a document. Whittle it down to that one, extra needy person. 

Now, give in secret! If you need to send them money via PayPal, just do it! if you want to drop them something in the mail, that would be fine too. But when it gets really exciting is when you can do it ANONYMOUSLY! That’s why giving to strangers on the street is so fun. They don’t know who you are! So locate that special person and give in secret. 

DON’T write out what you did here!! That would defeat the whole purpose. I’ll have to take your word for it!

Monday, March 11, 2013

DAY 11: Pray for Your Enemies!

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” - Matthew 5:43-48 

We started this thing by rejoicing when we were persecuted, slandered or lied about. Now, we’re taking it up a notch! Then, we’ll step it up ANOTHER notch by praying for those who have persecuted us. 

Today, we are making a choice to LOVE those that we consider our enemies. If you want to know what that looks like, just look at Jesus, dying on the cross at the hands of His persecutors. Start by forgiving your enemies. Love will come easier after that. 

“Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” - Luke 23:34 

Take 5 minutes and write down a list of anyone that you would consider or who would consider you an enemy. List them by name. It should be fresh since we started by rejoicing over what they had done. 

Then, take 5 minutes and PRAY for those people, one by one. Picture their faces and really ask God to help them and bless them. Don’t throw up “Christian Curses”, (ie- BLESS YOU!) pray, out of your heart that they will be blessed. Pray that God would do for THEM what you have been praying for YOURSELF. 

There, you did it! Way to go. Tell us how that felt!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

DAY 10: Give to the One Who Asks!

Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. - Matthew 5:41

Today, you will give to anyone who asks you whatever they ask you. You won’t turn a blind eye or deaf ear to someone asking to borrow something, you will lend freely. A salesperson might ask for a few minutes of your time... hear them out. A friend might ask you to read an email or recommend them for a job. TODAY, if it’s in your power to act, you will act.

Many of us pass homeless people every day on the side of the road and look the other way or choose NOT to give them money (they might by alcohol or drugs with it!), but today, that changes. Dig deep and give freely. Some of us have an annoying neighbor that’s been asking to borrow a power tool or a friend who is down on their luck.

Today you will return the call, you will return the email and you will say YES to whatever they want. It’s just for one day. Be like Jesus and GIVE. 

Tell us how it felt!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

DAY 9: Turn the Other Cheek!

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.” - Matthew 5:38-40 

A couple of years ago I did some graphic work for a gentleman who was recommended by a mutual friend. We had a couple meetings, discussed his needs, proposed a solution to his problems and attached a price tag to it. We shook hands in person, I sent him a proposal and he heartily agreed. I had no reason to distrust him for any reason. So, I did the work, presented the logo I had been working on and he LOVED it! 

So far, so good, right?? 

Well, not really. I sent him an invoice in July 2011 and I haven’t got a penny from him yet!! He dodged my phone calls and emails and just flat out dropped me like a bad habit! I seriously considered suing him since he owed me $2000. Then, after I had dropped it for a few weeks in December 2011, I found his unpaid invoice in my email box and started muttering to myself, angry at what he had done!! 

Then I read this scripture.

This guy was a thief! No one would argue that... But Jesus was calling me to a higher way. I had been in a prison of anger and bitterness towards him for MONTHS and I was valuing that $2000 I was owed more than I valued my peace! So I wrote him an email saying, 

“I think you should pay me, but I release you from doing it and forgive you for taking advantage of my good will. I want to be free from an expectation that you will make this right.” 

I instantly felt the peace of God that had been missing for months return as I turned the other cheek and allowed myself to be wronged. (*There is a time to defend your financial position, but for me this wasn’t it.)

Today, you will turn the other cheek. You will not resist evil (or even mean) people. You will allow yourself to be wronged without fighting back. If someone cuts in front of you in traffic, let someone else in. If a co-worker steals credit that is due you, praise them to their boss about something else. 

Live above the fray. Trust God to repay you and go to bed in peace. 

You can do it! Tell us how it went in the comments.

Friday, March 8, 2013

DAY 8: Answer EVERY Question Today with YES or NO!

“Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” - Matthew 5:33-37 

Today you will answer anything asked of you with a simple “Yes” or “No”. You will be a person of your word today. Don’t tell anyone that you will do something you won’t. Think twice before saying ANYTHING and then mean what you say COMPLETELY. 

Go to every event invite you have and put on there “YES!” or just as emphatically “NO!” No more, “I’ll see”, “Let me think” or my personal favorite “I’ll pray about it”. Nope, today, you will be a person of your word... like Jesus! 

Circle up here at the end of the day and tell us how that felt. It might grow on you!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

DAY 7: Cut Off ANYTHING that Causes you to Sin!

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” - Matthew 5:27-30

Put your machete, scalpels and hacksaws away! No self-surgery is happening today! When you get to the meat of what Jesus told us to do, it’s this: “Get rid of ANYTHING that causes you to sin”.

For some of us, that may be our smartphone, or as they have come to be known by many men, “Portable Porn Viewer”. So what if you traded in your fancy phone for a simple one that did talk/text ONLY? Crazy?? Personally, I think going to hell for a phone is crazy... but that’s just me.

Some of us may really struggle with social media, envying, getting angry with and judging others. So, if that is you, TURN IT OFF! Deactivate your account! I turned off my Facebook several months ago when it became a problem and I have really enjoyed living without it. Don’t think you can?? Ask yourself, “what did I do a few years ago when it didn’t exist??”

The point is this: GET SERIOUS about things that are causing you to stumble. It doesn’t have to be a forever thing. Maybe one day you can pick it back up. But get real about what is messing with your life and TODAY, take decisive action against it.

In my life at different times, I have:
  • Turned off my cable TV
  • Turned off my home internet 
  • Traded a smart phone for a “dumb” phone 
  • Quit Facebook 
  • Thrown sweets away 

Get serious. Do it NOW.

This one is a little sensitive. If you want to be courageous, you can share here in the comments what you are “cutting off”. If not, just say, “I did SOMETHING” and we’ll rejoice with you!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


“Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.” - Matthew 5:25,26 

Here is the challenge today: Agree QUICKLY with someone who disagrees with you! If it’s not about essential truths of the Christian faith, just get over it. Overlook an offense. Take a small loss to your pride. Maybe even your pocketbook??

Now, we are NOT talking about compromising clear Biblical truth. It’s not a coincidence that this scripture came immediately after the last command to be reconciled to those who have something against us. Is it possible that Jesus said this to illustrate WHY we have broken relationships in the first place?? Is it because we are SLOW to agree and QUICK to disagree??

So, why does Jesus command us to agree quickly with an “adversary”? The word adversary means “opponent”, or one who disagrees with us. Most of the time, the ones we have sharp disagreements with are those that we love the most, our family, friends and loved ones. Sometimes it’s a co worker or acquaintance from church. 

So ask, how many times have our relationships with spouses, family, friends and co-workers suffered because we simply wanted to win an argument? I know that personally I have done real damage to my relationships with people in the past because I wanted to be RIGHT more than I wanted to be in RELATIONSHIP. How many nights have we spent in a prison of our own design with family, friends, coworkers or even our spouse due to being disagreeable?? 

Well, not today. Today you are going to value peace more than you value being RIGHT. 

“Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.” - Matthew 5:9 

For some of us who can tend to be disagreeable, DOING this scripture today will be VERY difficult. For others... not so much! If you are quick to argue or disagree, your spouse or co-workers today will likely think you’ve had a stroke! If asked, you are simply agreeing quickly... because Jesus told you to! 

Tell us how it went in the comments section.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

DAY 5: Make an Attempt @ Reconciliation... then Worship!

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” - Matthew 5:23,24

This one won’t be easy. We’re going to make a real attempt at reconciliation today.

Take 5 minutes and write down 1-5 people that you KNOW have a problem with you and there is a broken/strained relationship. It doesn't matter if they are family, friends or coworkers. Write their names on a piece of paper or in a document.

Then, take 5 minutes and think of how you could attempt reconciliation. You may be able to pick up the phone and call them or text them to start a conversation. Maybe a heartfelt email or in-person meeting would be the best way to contact them? Whatever it may be, write it out next to their name. 

Pick 1 person and make an effort to be reconciled TODAY. Call, text, write or meet them. Tell them you are sorry things have not gone well. Express your desire to be reconciled (“ok”) with each other. If it’s applicable, tell them you love them. Do your best to be reconciled! 

Remember what the Bible says: “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” - Romans 12:18  Basically, do what you can. Then stop. You’ve DONE the Word! 

Now, take 5 minutes and worship God! Turn on your music, sit in silence or whatever works for you and connect with the Lord in a meaningful way.

Way to go! You’ve DONE the WORD Today! You are only a few days in and YOU have rejoiced over persecution, done some good deeds, taught others to do the same and attempted to be reconciled to someone... Wow! You are SUPERNATURAL! 

Tell us how it went in the comments section.

Monday, March 4, 2013

DAY 4: Speak PEACE!

“Now whatever city or town you enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and stay there till you go out. And when you go into a household, greet it. If the household is worthy, let your peace come upon it. But if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you.” - Matthew 10:11-13 

Today, you are going to SPEAK PEACE to everyone you meet! We’re jumping ahead here a bit, but I think it’s appropriate given Pastor Marc’s message @ NorthGate yesterday.

The Hebrew greeting “Shalom!” literally means, PEACE! Jesus told His disciples to say “Shalom to this house!” to every home they entered. In a day where the 24 hour news cycle streams anxiety, dread and fear to us all day, every day, this will come as a wonderful greeting. 

“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” - Luke 6:38 

Another huge benefit of doing this is that when you give your peace away, it comes back to you! How many of us need more peace?? I do! So, to everyone you meet and to every home and business you enter today, tell them “Peace to you!” 

Tell us how it went in the comments section.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

DAY 3: Teach Someone to DO the Word!

“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” - Matthew 5:17-19 

Many believers don’t feel like they are qualified to teach others, but Jesus told us specifically to DO His commands and then to TEACH others! You've spent the last couple of days DOING His commands (Rejoicing when you’re persecuted and doing good deeds) so TODAY, you are going to teach and encourage someone to do the same!

Pick ANY command that you have done in your life and TODAY, you are going to teach someone else to do the same! If this makes you feel a bit uncomfortable, that’s understandable, but the Great Commission is based on this same principle. You can (and should) teach others ANYTHING that Jesus has commanded you. It’s called, “Making Disciples”.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” - Matthew 28:19-20

So go for it! Some of you will interact with someone today that you can encourage to DO the Word. Make the most of that opportunity! 

Others will have to make their own opportunity. One example of how you can do this is to reach out to anyone you know, in any way you can and simply tell them about the challenge you have accepted to DO the Word of God over 50 days. You could send someone you know an email or post a link on Facebook or Twitter to this blog and say something like,

“Hey, I’ve started a 50 day challenge to read a scripture each day and DO what it says. I am only a couple days into it and would like for you to join me. It’s been a great experience! You simply read the scripture each day and follow the instructions! It’s amazing how the Bible comes ALIVE to those that DO what it says. Join me!”

So get out there and TEACH SOMEONE to DO the Word! (Then do a little dance on the inside realizing that your name is GREAT in the Kingdom of Heaven!)

Come back and tell us WHO you told and WHAT you told them to do!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

How a $.99 Ice Cream Cone Saved a Man's Life

So I have had a crazy long week and have been wiped out most of the day. Our family read the “DO”-Votional for this morning and we chatted for a few minutes about what we could DO today. We had great ideas... but NONE of them happened. 

So, it’s 8pm and the kids are getting ready for bed. Jess tells me, “It’s now or never!” So, we all throw on our jackets and head out looking for good deeds to DO. We started by looking for homeless folks, but it’s too cold and they are all gone! We ended up at McDonald’s with the kids, who brought THEIR money and had the idea to buy ice cream cones and hand them out to people in the restaurant. The kids bought 5 ice cream cones and spent $5 of their own money passing them out to a guy and his son and another family. 

They were all very blessed, but the guy with the teenage son was flabbergasted. He just had to know WHY we were doing this?? Jessica told him, “We’re doing a devotional today that is all about DOING the Word, not just reading it. The Bible says, Let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise God. So that’s why we bought you ice cream!” 

He kept pressing her for info and they chatted for a few minutes. She politely ended the conversation to get back to the kids playing at the play place with me. She told me, “I think you need to talk with him.” Before I could go to him, this man who is visibly shaken sits down next to me and starts with, “I don’t even know why I am talking with you.” I told him, “I do!” He starts by pouring out his heart and telling me his background with God and the church. 

I took him aside when he started getting choked up and he ended up confessing his sins and just getting RAW, right there in the Kids play area! I preached a VERY SIMPLE Gospel telling him that his responsibility was to come to the Lord, it was the Lord’s responsibility to set him free of his sins. 

He was SHAKING with the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the whole time we were talking I was thinking... “I don’t believe this! This is unreal!!” I asked him to pray a simple prayer with me and as we did, he started to manifest a DEMON! He started growling and hissing when I told him to say, “Jesus, set me free!” He literally couldn’t do it! So I reached over and put my hand on the back of his neck, commanding the thing that was prohibiting him from talking to loose him and let him go! 

It did! :) 

He gave his life to Jesus, confessed and repented of his sin and got WHACKED with the Holy Ghost! We talked for about an hour, exchanged numbers and he is coming to church tomorrow! 

All that because my kids bought him a $.99 ice cream cone.