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Tag: own

The Way of Jesus is Better

Jesus is the ultimate prize.

Written by Jesse Bradley on 26/06/2018

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: ServiceSoccerWorld CupCompetitionGoal


I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:14

When you are watching the World Cup, do you shout, sing, or yell at the referees? Do you enjoy the adrenaline rush of competition? 

Do games and tournaments bring out the best in you? Are there some aspects of competing that can be negative? This Summer, the nations have their eyes and hearts focused on one particular soccer championship. There are many spiritual lessons to be gleaned as you consider specific elements of the World Cup.  

A clear goal

In the World Cup, each country wants to return home as national heroes and the best soccer team on earth. Teams train for four years with intense aspirations. What does success look like for you in life? Do you have goals you are trying to achieve? Many people do not recognize their purpose, and consequently conform to the patterns of the world. In Jesus, you have been given a new identity and a compelling vision for your life. The apostle Paul writes, "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10) God is with you, and He also goes ahead of you to set up unique opportunities just for you. Every day is a gift from God, and you have incredible abilities and timely situations that He has given you to make a difference in this world. Helping an orphan or a widow can be far more significant than playing in the World Cup in God's eyes. When you make being faithful to Jesus your ultimate goal each day, God will do wonderful works through you, and many lives will be transformed. God will give you everything you need to accomplish what He asks you to do. 

A new strength

Many athletes attempt to be self-reliant. They have no source of power greater than what they can muster up themselves. It is common to go through life with the illusion of self-sufficiency. People stop acknowledging God as the giver of their life and talent. Pride swells. Egos grow. Boasting abounds. Is there a different option? The truth is your God-given assignments cannot be accomplished on your own strength, but relying on God will give you the perseverance, patience, hope, insights, and love you truly need. Jesus said, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in Him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:5) Are you still trying to call the shots, or have you given Jesus the steering wheel of your life? Make a decision today to honor Jesus in every aspect of your life and ask God for help to live out what you truly believe. There is no higher goal in life than to glorify Jesus, who is your source of strength.  

An attitude shift

All participants in a competition want to win. When there is a title and a trophy on the line, motivation runs high. Even children want to finish in first place and beat their opponents. However, on the field, there are different guidelines than other arenas of life. One danger about competition is that it can promote a me-first attitude. Selfishness can destroy families, friendships, and work environments. Jesus models a life of humility for us. Matthew writes, "Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28) Your attitude should be the same as Jesus, looking for ways to care for people and putting others first. Real love sacrifices, serves, and is marked by generosity. 

There is a competition every day between good and evil, God and the devil, and light versus darkness. When you make it your primary goal to be faithful to Jesus, rely on the Holy Spirit, and seek to serve people you will consistently win. You can have confidence in God as you declare: "Thanks be to God! He has given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 15:57)


Pray this week:

God, I pray that I would be fully reliant on you. You are the vine; I am the branches. May I remain in you and draw everything from you — not trying to do anything by my own power. I am powerless. Fill me with your Spirit to go out and serve others in the name of Jesus Christ. I love you! Amen.


Who can you serve this week? 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Don’t Forget Who You Belong To

You have been given many gifts, but it’s up to you to use them correctly.

Written by GodLife on 19/02/2019

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: BibleCharacterLeadershipObedience


She said, ‘The Philistines are upon you, Samson!’ And he awoke from his sleep and said, ‘I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.’ But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him. Then the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes, and they brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze chains, and he was a grinder in the prison.

Judges 16:20-21

When I was in grade school, my homeroom teacher nominated me to be a ‘super kid.’ This recognition was for all the kids who received good grades, had exemplary behavior and showed great leadership skills. As a reward, we would get prizes and even a t-shirt with the Superman logo on it to show that we were ‘special.’ 

In the Bible, there are many examples of people who were special, too. Today, I want to talk about Samson. Maybe you know him as the strong guy with super long hair who defeated the Philistines (Judges 15:16), but there is so much more to his story, his character, and his supernatural strength. Let’s dig a little deeper into his life.

Samson was chosen and set apart 

Even before he was born, Samson was blessed and set apart (Judges 13: 4-6). He dedicated himself to God as a Nazarite, a person entirely set apart for God. As a sign of obedience, a Nazarite drank no wine, would not go near a corpse or make himself unclean and would let his hair grow as a sign to his commitment to the Lord (Numbers 6:1-8). 

Samson looked the perfect example of a Nazarite. With his long hair and mighty strength, he had everything that identified him as a follower of God at first glance. He was also known as an Israelite warrior and a judge who led Israel for 20 years (Judges 16:31). Even his name, which means ‘little light’ or ‘little sun,’ served as a symbol in a time when the people of Israel were walking in so much sin and darkness. (Judges 13:1

Samson was a leader Israel deserved 

With all the titles and his outside appearance, one would think Samson lived a life according to his vow, but the truth is, he was far from obedient. Whatever he set his eyes upon, he wanted. For example, he first broke his vow as a Nazarite when he chose his wife. “I saw one of the daughters of the Philistines at Timnah. Now get her for me as my wife,” he told his parents. The Philistines didn’t serve God and were mortal enemies of the people of Israel. But his disobedience didn’t end there. Later on, “Samson went to Gaza… saw a prostitute and went to bed with her” (Judges 16:1). 

Samson is defeated 

Ultimately, Samson’s fall began when fell in love with Delilah, a woman who betrayed him for silver and turned him in to the Philistines. “My hair has never been cut because I am a Nazarite to God from birth,” he revealed to Delilah, “If I am shaved, my strength will leave me, and I will become weak and be like any other man” (Judges 16:17).

Delilah betrayed him by cutting his hair while he slept, and the Philistines took him as a prisoner. Gouging his eyes out, they forced him to grind grain in prison. 

In his brokenness and humiliation, Samson pleaded to God, and the Lord listened. “Lord God, please remember me,” Samson implored. “Strengthen me, God, just once more. With one act of vengeance, let me pay back the Philistines for my two eyes.” The Lord gave Samson his strength back, and he used it to kill the Philistines by pushing the pillars of the temple. (Judges 16: 28-30).

So, What can you learn from Samson? 

Samson’s story serves as a warning to every believer. He used supernatural strength to kill a lion with his bare hands (Judges 14:6), but couldn’t break the chains of sin. Instead of becoming a great leader to turn his people back to God, he lived, married, coexisted and died with the Philistines.

As believers, we have a ‘spirit of power’ (2 Timothy 1:7), but we must not use it for our benefit. We must compliment it with love and self-control so that we guard what the Lord has given us, and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit living within us, His name will be glorified. 


Pray this week:

“Lord, forgive me if I’ve ever acted upon my own will and not yours. Give me the opportunity to show those around me that I belong to you. Amen.” 


Where has the Lord called you to be obedient to Him in your life? Have you listened?

Do you want to reach your full potential for the Lord but need spiritual guidance? Connect with a caring Christian friend today! 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Seven Ways You Can Find Peace

No matter what shakes our world, you can find peace.

Written by Janet Perez Eckles on 22/01/2019

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: HelpPeaceWisdom


Blessed is the man… his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law, he meditates day and night.

Psalm 1:1-2

“I can’t’ believe you do that. That’s crazy!” a friend said when I told her I travel abroad by myself.

That’s crazy!

She might be right. Being blind, my traveling alone could be dangerous.  Without eyesight, I risk many mishaps—getting lost, losing my luggage, falling, running into objects or into people. Or even ending up in the wrong destination.

But the worry is gone because when I leave for a trip from my hometown of Orlando and head to South America, for example, I have a plan. In one hand I hold my white cane, and in my heart, I carry God’s Word. They’re verses from the Bible I memorized and silently repeat them in my mind throughout the day.

Good thing I developed that habit because not long ago when I visited Ecuador for the first time to address women’s conferences in various cities, God’s Word saved me from panic.

“Wake up, Janet!”

My friend whispered as she stood beside my bed “Don’t be afraid, but we had another earthquake last night.”

This was my first time in Ecuador, the surroundings were unfamiliar and the tremors that would soon follow added to the uneasiness of the moment.

My friend left as she had to attend to some urgent matters. I was alone. The only thing that accompanied me was my white cane and the fear I’d be unable to navigate to find the exit. My fate was that I would be crushed or trapped.

I tried to wipe away thoughts of the possible tragic ending. But, before I did, the furniture began to shake, the windows rattled and my heart beat fast.

I forced myself to take a deep breath. I needed supernatural help. But I had no one to read Bible passages to me. No cell connection to listen to God’s Word or even a radio to listen to Christian teachings. The only thing I had, stored deep in my heart and tucked in the crevices of my mind was God’s Word. I had written them with the pen of commitment ever since I met Jesus and began a sweet relationship with Him.

In the midst of the tremors, He whispered to me:

  • “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
  • “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” Psalm 23:1
  • “fear not, for I am with you…” Isaiah 41:10
  • “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7
  • “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
  • “The Lord is my light and my salvation;  whom shall I fear?” Psalm 27:1

The threatening terror turned to triumphant peace. I wasn’t alone, God was with me. The tremors stopped in my heart and in the room as well. Fresh reassurance, powerful confidence and profound calmness erased all fear.

No matter what shakes our world, God’s Word is available and through the Holy Spirit, it’s ready to leap from the page into our mind and heart. Here are seven steps to store them deep within:

  1. Ask God to speak to you through His Word
  2. Ask God to grant you spiritual wisdom to understand His message
  3. Choose a Bible verse
  4. Keep the verse short
  5. Ponder on its meaning
  6. Repeat it over and over again in your mind
  7. When going to bed, commit it to memory and repeat it the first thing in the morning

Once this verse flows easily in your mind and from your lips, choose another one and follow the same steps.

Storing Bible verses in the heart is like collecting gems. They will shine to dispel the darkness. They will enrich a heart that’s empty. They will grow in value. And they will add worth to our life.

Although we all face earthquakes that shake our life, God’s Word is the steady foundation that remains solid. His Word, learned and stored within, is the weapon that defeats the enemy, turns fear to faith, panic to peace and soothes the aching heart.


Pray this week:

Heavenly Father, you see the tremors that often shake my own life, I ask for Your wisdom to understand Your Word, for Your grace to keep me focused on You, and for diligence to store Your Word deep within me. Amen.


How has God’s Word stored in your heart helped you?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member