Monday – Psalms 27:12–13 It’s not a statement about the character of God. Do not give me over to the will of my foes…  David has no doubt that God will protect Him. He isn’t concerned God would abandon Him. No, this a cry of the heart about a harsh reality. David realizes he will be tempted to be like his foes. He realizes if he acts like the  false witnesses rise up against me, breathing violence, he will be just like them. And He probably knows in his heart, that he wants to do just that. You see, even though David has to fight evil and has to go to war to protect the nation, he realizes he cannot go to war for the wrong reasons. The will of my foes in our lives always has to do with us being reduced to their level. David is asking for God’s help in not being like them. There is a lesson for us in that. We are called to walk daily with an expectation for good. We are called to be certain that I will see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living. Verse 13 is a choice. David has prayed and asked God to protect him from the false witnesses. Now David must exercise faith in God’s intentions for David’s life. He must choose to think about God’s goodness, rather than dwell on man’s evil intent. The challenge is the same for you today and everyday. Take a moment and write down three ways God has been good to you. Then thank Him for His goodness.  

Tuesday – Psalms 42:9–11 Do you have a rock? Do you have somewhere to stand when all is crumbling around you? Sometimes David displays hidden personal character traits that are weak and frail. This passage is one of those moments. In his heart, David believes God is his rock. However, at the moment David is paying more attention to Why have You forgotten me. We all do that at times. I want you to notice a progression. The scripture eventually goes from why have You forgotten me to why am I so depressed. If we are wise, we can learn a valuable lesson here. Yes, life is hard at times, but it is not because God has forgotten me. It is because I have not forgotten myself. As a pastor, virtually everyone who has ever come to me telling me about being depressed, had given up on controlling their thoughts. They were thinking about themselves all the time. The Holy Spirit came to change our minds about us. To help us think of Jesus, Others, and then You. Notice the acronym? JOY. Jesus, Others, You. Some folks get it wrong two different ways. The most depressed people practice YOJ. The second most depressed people I practice OYJ. The most consistent, most joyful, most respected, most beneficial believers I know practice JOY. Read 2 Corinthians 10:4-5. What does it mean taking every thought captive? We control our emotions and think of faith and eternal things. We refuse to put ourselves first. Remember, David, concluded his little selfish diatribe to God with Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him, my Savior and my God.  David purposefully came back to God and refused to continue being selfish. Take a few minutes to think about these scriptures and then pray to God about it. Confess any sin, and claim any promises.

Wednesday Romans 8:22–25  So continuing the conversation from yesterday, am I saying that we should never be depressed? No, not at all. In this life we will deal with ups and downs and even sideways, at times. We can’t avoid that entirely. Most depression issues stem from us constantly thinking about ourselves. Me, me, me, me, me, me, me is no way to live. We have to have our hearts and minds fixed on Jesus because the Bible says He is the author and finisher of our faith. But we also have to understand that we are not living where we were intended to be. the whole creation has been groaning together with labor pains until now. Because of sin, the whole world is slowly spinning, decaying, and crashing down around us. There are spiritual pressures we are each subject to and we must understand that we are closer everyday to a New Heaven and New Earth. If we only look at the broken one we live in now, it will depress us. If you are human, you feel this pressure. If you have not yet come to Christ as Lord and Savior, you are being pressed by the present world. God is using it in your life to pressure you to be born again. If you are already born again, God is using this pressure make you more useful to Him. The only place you can go is to the Word for relief. Nothing else will satisfy you. Don’t want to be depressed? Seek God. You will find Him and He will fill you with all you need. That is what we are all looking for . That is the only thing that satisfies us. Seek Him now. Pray in your own words. Tell Him about how you feel. Ask Him to change you.

Thursday – Romans 10:17 How do we get more faith? We know that we don’t have enough. We are challenged regularly in it. We would all say, as the disciples said to Jesus, “Lord, increase our faith.” The beginning of increased faith, is accepting Christ as your Savior and being born again. That begins a lifelong process for believers that began with hearing the Word and you receiving enough faith to accept salvation. But that process will occur over and over, as you grow as a believer. You will encounter situations where you have doubts and you need more faith. You have two choices. Either you will shrink back and think the old way, based on your fears and habits from the past. Or you will increase your faith by what is heard.  That may be next sunday’s worship service, it might a Lifegroup. Or it might be you opening up the Bible yourself and feeding your spirit  with the Word’s beauty. Or it might be right now, with this Take It Through The Week. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. If your faith is going to increase, your exposure to the Word of God must increase. It is a spiritual law and there is no other way. If you are going to move forward spiritually, it will happen by feeding on God’s Word. And no, simply coming to church is not enough, if has to happen daily. Pray with me. Holy Spirit of the Risen Lord, help me to set aside all the things that entangle me , and to open your Word. Help me to hunger and thirst after righteousness. Help me to be glad when they say unto me, let us go into the House of the Lord. I need you, the Living Word, to feed me. Lead me and help me. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen. 

Friday – 2 Corinthians 4:16–18  What is one characteristic of a turned-on, filled-up, born-again believer in Jesus Christ? Therefore we do not give up. Perseverance is not only necessary, but vital in the life of a believer. How do we get more of it? We do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. Why do Christians talk so much about heaven? We are commanded to. We are commanded to treat this world and even our present body as something that is temporary. We are told repeatedly thoughts like for our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So instead of living under the weight of a physical world that someday to be replaced entirely, we look forward to an absolutely incomparable weight of glory.  We never give up because no matter what happens to us, we are one second…, one moment closer to an absolutely incomparable weight of glory. The spiritual pressure that we feel is natural. The difficulties that we deal with are normal. But we have a date with the most supernatural moment in human history, when Jesus returns. In that day, all we see will become all we have hoped for. In that day all we have been promised, will become all we could never even have imagined. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. We will see what can’t be seen now. Therefore we do not give up.

Saturday – 1 Corinthians 13:11–13  Do you remember your child saying something really cute way back then, that he would never say today? It’s a little sad because back then it was so cute. We love to tell those stories about our kids. But aren’t you glad he doesn’t talk like that anymore? If he were stuck in that 5 year old mode, and in a 25 year old body, it wouldn’t be good. but when I became a man, i put childish things away.  Read 1 Cor. 3:1-3. Paul has been calling the Corinthians to stop acting like children. To grow up spiritually was not an option, it was a necessity. Back to chapter 13:11-13, Paul makes the same appeal as he did in chapter 3. Grow up. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, as I am fully known. Why must we grow and mature and have spiritual goals. Because in the future, we will know as we are fully known. Everything that God knows will suddenly become public knowledge. For those who rejected Christ, there will be no excuses, no accusations. They will know that their eternal fate is sealed and that it was fully their choice to reject Christ. For believers, we will suddenly know everything God knows. About us. About others. All unconfessed sin will suddenly become public knowledge. Why should we grow and mature? Our first moments in eternity, all the sin we have clung to and kept for ourselves will suddenly be revealed. But then, thanks be to God, believers will be cleansed and all that will remain will be faith, hope, and love. The deeds and words that will be fit for eternity will have been fueled by faith, hope, and love. These three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.  Pray with me. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, melt my sinful stubbornness and fill those voids with faith, hope, and love. Through Jesus, Amen

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