The Pattern – 26

Do not fear (John 14:27, Romans 8:15, 2 Timothy 1:7). When was the last time you were afraid? What effect did it have on you? How much does Fear affect your life? How does it affect your emotions? How does it shape your thoughts? How does fear influence how you behave? What losses has it produced? What are the things you are afraid of? What do you think gave birth to these fears? How has fear affected your relationship with God and others? What would it look and feel like to not walk in this fear? What would have to change in what you think and believe to no longer fear? What truths would you have to embrace? What lies would you have to discard? What freedom would come? Take a few moments to imagine living a life without fear? How would this change you? How would it change how you feel about yourself and God? How would it change how you interact with the world? Talk to God about what you have pondered.

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The Pattern – 25

Be above Reproach (Phil 2:14-15, 1 Tim. 3:2, Titus 1:5-9). Spend some time asking God to reveal if there is anything in your conduct or speech that would give others opportunity bring accusation against you in regards to living a Christ like life? What might others be able to question about your actions and relationships with others? What effect do you think you these behaviors have on your ability to represent Jesus? What do you think is behind allowing such things to continue to reside in your life? What do you think these traits have cost you in influence and credibility? What effect do these things have on the use of your gifts and talents? What keeps you from ridding yourself of such things? What possibilities might be opened if you were to walk away from these things and live above reproach? What is keeping you from doing this? Take a few moments and imagine what might be different if you lived above reproach. Talk to God about what has been brought up in your heart.

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The Pattern – 24

Endure persecution for the sake of righteousness (Matt 5:10-11, 1 Peter 3:8-14, 2 Timothy 3:12). When was the last time you felt mistreated, harassed, or maligned because of your faith? What was your immediate reaction? Was it to stand up and fight back or was it to patiently endure the persecution? What effect would returning insult for insult have? What effect could returning blessing for abuse have? How would your ability to do this be linked to your trust of God? How would demonstrating this kind of trust be for the sake of righteousness? What righteousness would be reveled? Spend time thinking about the kinds of situations in which you are invited to suffer persecution for the sake of righteousness. Imagine yourself being able to endure and return blessing rather than respond in-kind? What would you say? What would you feel? Where would your strength come from? What would be the outcome? Close by asking God to give you the strength and discernment necessary to respond like this.

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The Pattern – 23

Treat other like you would like to be treated. (Matt 7:12; Luke 6:31). When you interact with others, do you treat them like you want to be treated or do you treat them differently? If you do not give them the same treatment that you would desire how is it different? In what ways do you show them less honor, respect, courtesy, kindness, graciousness, or care than you would like to receive? Are there other areas in which you have a double standard? Why do you think you resort to treating them like this? What is your motivation? What do you hope to gain? Have you achieved your goal, or has your actions had some unexpected costs? How do you think people would feel and respond if you treated them as you want to be treated? What effect would this have on your relationship with them? What effect would this have on their ability to see Christ in you? Are there any changes you need to make? What are the things you can affect and what are the things that can only be changed with help from another? Spending time talking to God about these things and asking Him to help you make the changes you cannot make on your own.

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The Pattern – 22

Honor all people, showing proper respect to everyone (1 Pet 2:17). Think about your interactions with people over the past 24 hours: your family, friends; the people at work; the clerk at the grocery store; the other driver on the freeway. In your interactions with these people would you say you showed respect and demonstrated honor, or were these interactions filled with some other attitude? Are you pleased with how you related to others, or is there a sense of shame and disappointment in reliving these contacts? If you did not show respect and honor to others, why not? Is it a judgment you make about them? Is it something deep within you? What would it look like to honor and respect those you come in contact with today? How would it affect them? How would it affect you? What would it actually cost you to show honor and respect to the people who come across your path? What might you gain? What affect do you think not honoring others has on your relationship with the one who desires us to do so? Take some time to ask God to bring to mind anyone you have failed to respect and honor. Ask Him to reveal to you ways in which you can demonstrate honor to them. Choose to do these things the next time God gives you opportunity.

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The Pattern – 21

When you are angry, keep from sinning and resolve the issues before the sun sets so the devil cannot use it to bring destruction to you or your relationship. (Ephesians 4:26 & 27) What kind of issues makes you angry? When something makes you angry how do you respond? What kinds of emotions are triggered? What are behind these emotions? Would others say you handle your anger well or would they say you cause damage to relationships with your response? What does it look like to handle anger appropriately? When someone makes you angry are you quick to resolve the issue or do you let it fester for a while? What causes you to respond this way? What would the effect be on your relationships if you handled conflict quickly? How does allowing these things to go unaddressed allow the devil the opportunity to ruin your relationships? How does giving him a foothold affect your heart? Spend some time searching your heart for any unresolved anger. Talk to God about it. Don’t let the day end before you deal with it appropriately.

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The Pattern – 20

“Do not put a stumbling block in front of your brother or sister; instead use your freedom to build others up in love.” (Romans 14, 1 Corinthians 8 ) What about the way your act or carry yourself might potentially be a stumbling block to someone else’s spiritual growth? Spend some times asking God to bring to mind any specific people or situations where you might be placing a stumbling block before others. How do you feel about giving up your freedom for their sake? Do you feel ambivalent towards their struggle? Does the thought make you feel bitter and mad? Do you feel a willingness to let go of this thing for their benefit? Talk honestly to God about these feelings. What would it really mean to let go of this area in which you have freedom? What would you lose? What might you gain? How could it affect your brother or sister? How would it affect your relationship with Christ? Given how it would affect you and others, does this change your willingness in this area? If not, why? What do you think God’s heart is in this area? Is your heart in line with his? What is the consequence of this reality? Is there any change that needs to take place? Talk to God about these things.

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