Have you ever played a word association game? Word association is an interesting way to see how a person categorises and connects different ideas, feelings, experiences, and information. When I say a particular word, what is the very first thought that comes to your mind? For instance, if I say “dog,” you might think “cat.” If I say “heart,” you might think “Love". What if I said “God”? What would be your first thought? “Good”? “Loving”? “Kind”? “Awesome”? How about this one: Jealous? Moses was a man who spoke with God face-to-face as a man speaks to his friend and in Moses gives an urgent command to the children of Israel, saying, “But you shall destroy their altars, dash in pieces their pillars and cut down their Asherim; for you shall worship no other god; for the Lord, Whose name is Jealous, is a jealous (impassioned) God” (amp). Notice the emphasis Moses places on the jealousy of God. Not only is He a jealous God; that is His very name. You don’t hear this preached very often about God, but it would do us well to remember this part of His personality that is so significant it is actually His name. His name is Jealous! Jealous is not willing to share your heart with another lover. Jealous cannot be appeased by your “throwing Him a bone” on Sunday morning. Jealous is not OK with things in your life that crowd Him out. Jealous isn’t oblivious when you’re flirting with the world. Jealous wants your heart—all of it—for Himself.
What are you Living for?
Day 1 • Daniel Kolenda
On the wall of the south choir aisle of Westminster Abbey hangs a memorial stone to John and Charles Wesley that says, “God buries His workmen, but carries on His work.” (A fitting tribute for men whose lives had been so thoroughly dedicated to the Kingdom of God). Before he died, Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:6, “I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand.” Paul saw his life as expendable for the sake of the gospel. With his mortal and finite life he’d helped to propel God’s everlasting kingdom forward. That knowledge brought Paul complete satisfaction.” The reality is that we’re all expending our lives. All of us are being poured out for something. Yet so many give so little thought to what they are actually living for. Let me ask you, my friend, what are you living for? What will make your life count? What are you propelling forward with your time, energy, finances, and passion? Jesus said in Mark 8:35, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.” If you really want your life to count, there is only one way to make that happen: you have to throw it away. You have to throw your life away into the service of the One who gave you your life in the first place. This is Daniel Kolenda encouraging you to live before you die.
What God wants
Day 2 • Daniel Kolenda
Leonard Ravenhill once asked the question, “Is what you’re living for worth Christ dying for?” My friend, we were not saved so that we could be polished, decorative knick knacks sitting on God’s shelf filling space in heaven for eternity. We have been saved for a purpose, and the fulfilment of that purpose is the only acceptable reaction we can have to the great gift of salvation. In light of these things what then should we do? “When Saul, who later became the apostle Paul, met the Lord on the road to Damascus in Acts 9:6, this was his question: “Lord, what do You want me to do?” The question is not, “What do I want to do with my life?” but, “Lord, what do You want me to do with my life?" Whether your journey takes you to the mission field or medical school, whether you become a construction worker, businessman, chef, or pastor, discovering God’s will for your life is not a matter of determining what you want but what He wants. It is a spiritual quest of utmost significance, and the Holy Spirit must lead it. For that reason I invite you to pray the following prayer for guidance and direction with me: Heavenly Father, I present myself to You today as a living sacrifice. Because You gave Your Son for me, I give myself to You fully. I lay my dreams and desires at Your feet and ask that Your will would be done in my life. In Jesus’ name, amen. This is Daniel Kolenda encouraging you to live before you die.
Saved to Serve
Day 3 • Daniel Kolenda
In the twenty-first chapter of John, after Jesus had risen from the dead, He found that Peter had gone back to his old occupation—fishing. After cooking breakfast for Peter, Jesus pointed to one of the fish and asked this question, “‘Simon [Peter] son of John, do you truly love me more than these?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ he said, ‘you know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Feed my lambs’” (John 21:15, NIV). Notice that Jesus didn’t say, “Peter, do you love My lambs?” Then, “Feed My lambs.” Rather Jesus asked, “Peter, do you love Me?” Peter’s ministry to the sheep was to be motivated primarily by his love for Christ, not his love for the lambs. Some people have a heart that is filled with compassion for a particular people group, cause or need in the world. These are often God-given burdens that can be great motivators. But there is an ambition that should be greater than all others, including the desire to help people and to make a difference in the world. The real question is this “Do you love Jesus?” Our love for Christ must be the ambition that reigns supreme over all others. It will purify every motive and attract the blessing and favour of God. Our love for Him will cause His love to flow through us to a lost and dying world. My friend, examine your life and your work today and hear the words of the master asking you as he asked Peter, “do you love me more than these?” This is Daniel Kolenda encouraging you to live before you die.