Just Passing Through
Did you know that the Bible describes life as a mist, a breath, and a wisp of smoke? Job 8:9 says, “Our days on earth are as fleeting as a shadow.” Never forget these two truths: First, compared to eternity, your earthly life is very brief. Secondly, earth is only your temporary residence. Since you won’t be here that long, don’t get too attached to it. David prayed,
Lord, help me to realize how brief my time on Earth will be. Help me to know that I am here for but a moment more." (Ps. 39:4 LB)
This is not your permanent home or final destination. The Bible uses terms like alien, pilgrim, foreigner, stranger, visitor, and traveler to describe our brief stay here on earth.
So if you call God your Father, live your time as temporary residents on Earth in fear." (1 Peter 1:17 GW)
So, as a child of God, think differently. Understand that there is far more to life than just the few years you live on this planet. Your identity is in eternity, and your homeland is heaven.
Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they’ll be won over to God’s side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives.” (1 Peter 2:11 MSG).
Unlike the world’s thinking, the pursuit of happiness and material things is not what life is all about. Remember that your life is a temporary assignment. Living with this mindset will keep you from the grip of the world’s value system. A fish is never happy living on land because it was made for water. An eagle is never satisfied until it is allowed to fly. You will never feel completely satisfied on earth because you were born for more.
Knowing that you are simply passing through will radically change your values. Eternal values will eventually become the deciding factors for your earthly decisions. During this time of fasting and seeking God, ask God to reveal to you His assignment and plan for your life here on earth. Don’t expect a detailed 10 year plan either because God always speaks in “steps.” “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord…” (Ps. 37:23). Allow God to reveal His plan for you today. As you fulfill that assignment, He will give you more direction and the next thing you know, you will begin a lifestyle of walking with Him.
“Lord, I recognize that my time here on earth is only a breath of time.
Since my time here is brief, I will not attach myself to the temporary things of this world.
As a temporary resident, help me to think differently.
Help me to see my life and the opportunities that come to me in the light of Your Word.
Lord, reveal to me Your plan for me today.
Who should I reach out to today?
What would you have me do today?
I listen for your gentle nudges and leading today, in Jesus’ Name.
The Rewards of Fasting
As you continue to walk your journey of 40 days of fasting and focus, your entire being will be filled to overflowing with the life of God.
In 2 Chronicles 20, when King Jehosophat was up against insurmountable odds, he called a fast. He was facing not only the threat of the loss of his life but that of his entire nation.
“And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. So Judah gathered together to ask help from the Lord; and from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.”
This is a time to continue to set yourself in seeking the Lord. The scriptures give the believer many different options as to what type of fast to enter into. Here are the ones to consider:
Total fast - drinking water only
Modified total fast - drinking water & juices only
Daniel fast - Eating fruits & vegetables only with drinking water
Skip a meal fast - a day
John Wesley fast - bread & water only
Jewish fast - no food from sunup to sundown
Media fast - abstaining from TV, the web, and all media stimulation
Set aside a number of days to seek and focus on the Lord. If you cannot commit to that, set yourself to seek the Lord one day a week or even one meal a week.
Jesus made it very clear to expect a reward when you fast. He said, “…and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” Notice the open reward from the Lord for privately seeking Him.
The prophet Isaiah outlines a number of breakthrough rewards for those who fast:
Through fasting, barren lives once destroyed by drugs, alcohol, and other problems can be healed and restored to victory reflecting God’s glory.
Whatever path of focus you choose, pursue it by setting your entire being, like Jehosophat did, with all this strength and heart. You will be rewarded greatly.
“Lord, as I continue to focus on you, I commit to the fast of ______________.
I set aside the distraction of food to seek Your will for my life.
Speak to me.
Allow your will and purpose to be even more real to me.
As I seek Your face, thank you for rewarding me openly.
In Jesus’ Name.”
Heaven on Your Mind
One of the greatest motivators to living a life of purpose is remembering that your life here on earth is just the dress rehearsal for the real production. Wrap your head around this thought that you will spend far more time on the other side of death than you will here. Thinking about what lies ahead gives understanding and purpose.
“He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” (Eccl. 3:11 NLT)
God designed you, in His image, to live for eternity and He wired you to think that way. Although your physical heart will stop beating one day, that will not be the end of you. Paul said, “For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
Your relationship to God on earth will determine your relationship to him in eternity. When you fully comprehend that there is more to life than just here and now, and you realize that life is just preparation for eternity, you will begin to live differently. You will start living in light of eternity. And not only that, but the problems that seemed to bother you yesterday will appear insignificant as you view your life through the filter of eternity. Your values will change and you will place a higher priority on relationships and character.
I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done." (Phil. 3:7)
As you begin 2021, beware of short-term thinking. To make the most of your life, you must keep the vision of eternity continually in your mind and the value of it in your heart. Today is the visible top of the iceberg. Eternity is all the rest you don’t see underneath the surface.
Paul inspired us with these words:
No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him." (1 Cor. 2:9)
God has purpose for your life on earth, but it doesn’t end here. His plan will go on well beyond your lifetime on earth. Measured against eternity, our time on earth is just a blink of an eye, but the consequences of it will last forever. Matthew Henry said, “It ought to be the business of every day to prepare for our final day.” Living today with heaven on your mind puts you in a mindset that will infuse your life with purpose and life.
“Lord, as I consider my life today, I see it through the lens of eternity.
My position in this life is not as important as the sensitivity of my heart towards You.
I will keep the vision of a life with You continually before me.
May I live today with You on my mind.
May I walk this temporary life with heaven always on my mind.
In Jesus’ Name.”
What Fuels Your Drive?
Scripture References: Jer. 29:11-14
Drive can be defined as the fact of feeling that compels you to act in a particular way. For example, parents are driven to work just thinking about their families. The love of family and children drives them to work their jobs. In life, there are many circumstances, values, and emotions that can drive your life.
Driving Forces to Avoid:
Allowing any of these forces to drive your life will only lead to unused potential, unnecessary stress, and an unfulfilled life. However, knowing your purpose carries with it many of the following positive benefits:
When life has meaning, you can endure almost anything. God spoke these words through Jeremiah.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jer 29:11)
Knowing your purpose helps define what you do and what you don’t do. You are able to evaluate which activities are essential and which are not.
Purpose concentrates your effort and energy on what’s important allowing you to be selective. Without a clear purpose, you will keep changing direction, jobs, and relationships. If you want your life to have impact, focus it. Instead of trying to do it all, do less.
Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants.” (Eph. 5:17) He goes on to say, “I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.” (Phil 3:13)
Purpose always produces passion and nothing energizes your life like a clear purpose.
Ultimately, what matters most will not be what others say about your life but what God says. Simply living your life to create an earthly legacy will only lead to emptiness and frustration.
The food that keeps me going is that I do the will of the One who sent me, finishing the work he started. As you look around right now, wouldn’t you say that in about four months it will be time to harvest? Well, I’m telling you to open your eyes and take a good look at what’s right in front of you.” (John 4:34)
We open our eyes and look around by listening to our hearts for the drive and purpose of the Lord. Allow His fire and passion to burn within you. If you don’t see it clearly, simply wait a little longer as you continue your journey of “40 Days of Life.”
“Lord, may your purposes fuel my life today.
May I be driven by Your purpose rather than guilt, fear, material things, or the need for approval.
I choose to simplify my life by focusing on Your will and eliminating the distractions of life.
My future looks bright as I follow after you.”
You Are Not An "Oops"
Despite what you think or may have been told by others, your life is not an unplanned event. You are not a mishap or an oops. And like Einstein said, “God does not play dice.”
I am your Creator. You were in my care even before you were born… You are my chosen servant, my very favorite.” (Isaiah 44:2 CEV)
Most of us have memories of recess time on the playgrounds of our schools. Sometimes teams were chosen for a group game of competition. Some were chosen early for their strengths or talents. Others were passed over or not even chosen at all.
The good news is that on the playground of life, God chose you to be on His team and He didn’t choose you last.
Long before you were conceived by your parents, you were conceived in the mind of God. He thought of you first. It isn’t fate, chance, luck, or coincidence that you are breathing today. You are alive because God wants you to be.
Not only did God prescribe every detail of your physical makeup but He also determined your talents and uniqueness of your personality. Everything in your life is for a purpose.
Take comfort in the fact that God never does anything accidentally, and He never makes mistakes. He has a reason for everything he creates. Every plant and every animal was planned by God, and every person was designed with His purpose in mind.
Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love.” (Eph. 4:1 MSG)
Never again should we feel alone wondering if our life has purpose or reason. God thought about you, is thinking about you, and has a blueprint for your future if you would simply take the time to seek Him out. Herein lies the foundation for “40 Days of Life.”
Don’t allow yourself to struggle any longer with your personality, your background, or physical appearance. Accept who you are because God designed you that way. Enrich your life and discover exactly why you are here. You are not an “oops.”
“Lord, I am discovering that my life was planned by You long before I was even born.
In the same way there You have a reason for everything, you have a purpose for my life.
Help me to see that and embrace Your purpose for my life.
Reveal Your blueprint for my life to me.
I accept who I am because You designed me that way.
I am content and happy with who you made me to be.”
It Was God's Idea
“For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.” (Col 1:16)
The phrase “by Him” tells us that all things, including your life, were initiated by God. If you want to know why you were placed on this earth, you must begin with God. You were born by his purpose and for His purpose.
The mistake that so many make is that they try to think their way through the map of their own understanding in search of their purpose and meaning. That will never work because the scripture says,
“In whose hand is the life of every living thing,
Instead of asking selfish questions like: What should I do with my life? What are my dreams for my future? Ask God the most important question: “Lord, what is Your big idea for my life?” You didn’t create yourself, so there is no way you can tell yourself what you were created for. If you were to walk into a trade show of brand new inventions and approach something you had never seen before, you would not know its purpose much less identify what it is. Only the creator could reveal its purpose. In your search for God’s purpose always begin with God, your Creator. As you begin this new year, release the reins of your life and let God use you for His purposes, instead of using Him for your own purposes.
Our human nature default thinking usually leads us to assume or speculate what our purpose is. Don’t assume that just because your parents did something that you should follow the same path. And whatever you do, don’t guess your purpose as if you were playing a matching game. Turn over a tile until you find one that matches what seems attractive to you. Instead, get a revelation about God’s purpose for your life through His Word. The easiest way to discover the purpose of an invention is to ask the creator of it. Remember His words, “Call to Me and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” (Jer 33:3). Why not do that regarding the purpose for your life?
God is the source of your life so building your life on eternal truths is essential to determining His purpose for your life. Receive comfort from this word, “It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.” (Eph 1:11 MSG)
Wrap your thinking around this: God planned your life before you existed, and He did it without your input. You may choose your vocation, your spouse, and your hobbies , but only God chooses your purpose.
“Lord, help me to recognize you as Creator of my purpose and not only the things I see around me.
Reveal to me Your idea and plan for my life.
I will no longer assume or guess my way through life.
Instead, I build my life on the foundation of Your Word.
Thank you for working out your overall purpose in my life.”
The Significance of 40
Throughout the scriptures, numbers hold specific meaning and significance. For instance, 3 represents the Godhead while 12 speaks of the disciples, apostles, and months of the year. 2 speaks of unity and 10 is a number used by Jesus in many of His parables. It is no different with the number 40!
40 is associated with almost each new development in the history of God’s mighty acts, especially in regards to salvation.
As you embark on these 40 days of fasting and focus your entire being will be filled to overflowing with the life of God. Challenge yourself, set some spiritual goals for yourself and expect the following benefits of 40 days of Life - 40 days of fasting & focus:
See yourself in the fulfillment of this scripture:
Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region. And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all." | Luke 4:14-15
As you begin your personal journey of 40 Days of Life, stop for a moment and pray:
“Lord, I surrender my life to you for the next 40 days.
I give you permission to change me and prune me as You desire.
I position myself to receive all of the benefits of seeking you.
I purposefully avoid the distractions of life for the next 40 days.
Allow Your divine transformation to happen in my life.
Let it begin, in Jesus’ Name.”
40 Days of Life
Join us in 40 days of fasting & focus with this 40 day devotional.
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