The Extraordinary Life begins with a choice.
The Extraordinary Life
Weekly Devotional Email
For Sunday, January 15, 2017
John 10:10 (ESV)
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
Dear Church Family,
We began our series on ‘The Extraordinary Life’ last week and I told this story about a father. One Sunday afternoon a father was trying to take a nap, but his little boy kept bugging him with “Daddy, I’m bored.”
So, trying to occupy him with a game, the dad found a picture of the world in the newspaper. He cut it in about fifty pieces and said, “Son, see if you can put this puzzle back together.”
The dad lay back down to finish his nap, thinking the map would keep his son busy for at least an hour or so.
But in about fifteen minutes the little guy woke up him: “Daddy I’ve got it finished. It’s all put together.”
“You’re kidding,” He knew his son didn’t know all the positions of the nations, so he asked him, “How did you do it?”
“It was easy. There was a picture of a person on the back of the map so when I got my person put together, the world looked just fine.”
I must admit, sometimes I feel like that picture all over the living room floor and it’s hard to pick up the pieces. I’ve noticed, though, in my life that the world is easier to see, when my life is put together.
My hope and prayer is that this series will help put our ‘person’ together so that we can then see and impact the world around us for Christ. That’s what The Extraordinary Life is all about – impacting our world for the kingdom of Heaven.
God desires for us to live ‘The Extraordinary Life’.
We saw last week that it is God’s desire for us to live this type of life. His desire is not for us to just go through the motions as we live our life. After coming to Christ our lives should be radically different! Our life takes on new meaning and new purpose. Repeatedly in Matthew chapter 5 he describes this type of life as a ‘blessed’ life.
As believers, our enemy is Satan and the goal of the enemy is simple: it’s to steal, kill and destroy. The enemy’s goal is to steal your joy, your drive, your ambition. The enemy’s goal is to kill your motivation, your love, your passion. The enemy’s goal, ultimately, is to destroy everything in your life. The enemy wants to destroy every good thing in your life, to destroy every relationship in your life, to destroy your families, our church, every marriage…that is his goal.
Yet, while that is the devil’s goal and objective, we now turn our attention to the shepherd’s objective…He came to give us life, an abundant life. He came to give us The Extraordinary Life.
The Extraordinary Life begins with a choice.
Remember, we are as close to God as we choose to be.
You are as close to God as you choose to be.
YOU are as close to God as YOU choose to be.
The pathway to The Extraordinary Life…
We looked at the specific behaviors that will lead to The Extraordinary Life. Jesus spoke about these behaviors in Matthew 5. He describes every behavior as ‘blessed’ in the following verses…
Matthew 5:1-12 (NIV)
1 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them. He said: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
This Sunday in our study…
This week we will look specifically at the first beatitude found in Matthew 5:3. Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” As we take a closer look at this beatitude, we’ll look at the story of the rich young ruler. Take some time this week and read through the story. It’s found in Matthew 19:16-26…
Matthew 19:16-26 (NIV)
Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
“Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”
“Which ones?” he inquired.
Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’”
“All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again, I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Questions for Personal Growth and Discovery…
- How close are you to God right now?
- What choices can you make in your life to draw you closer to Him?
- Think about the rich young ruler in the story above. Imagine what his life must have been. Why would he go to Jesus in the first place?
- In Jesus’ answer, what is he referring to when he mentions ‘the commandments’?
- Look up the ‘Ten Commandments’ and jot them down. How does your life measure up to the them?
- Is it possible for anyone to keep all of them? Why does God use that as the example for the rich young ruler?
- Put yourself in the disciples’ shoes. The Bible says ‘they were greatly astonished.’ Why do you think they were so astonished?
- The last verse in the text above says “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” What is one thing in your life that is seems completely impossible? Take a moment and pray right now for that situation and ask God to do the impossible for you in your life.
Making the most of this study…
As with any new study there are several ways that you can prepare your heart before and during this study:
- Read Matthew 5:1-12 daily over the next few weeks.
- Memorize our theme verse for this new study listed above (John 10:10 NIV).
- Prepare your heart for next Sunday’s message with this weekly devotional email (if this was forwarded to you by a friend or loved one and you would like to be included, send an email to email@example.com or call the church office).
- Have questions during this study? Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org or text them to (541) 530-4912.
- Resolve now to be with each Sunday in our study ‘The Extraordinary Life’.
- Pray that God will help us understand the truths found in Matthew 5 that he will enable us to live the extraordinary life that He intends for us to live.
I’m looking forward to worshipping with you this Sunday!
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