Today is the last day of June, and marks our halfway point through 2020. Readers, I encourage you to refocus on the rest of 2020. We have seen the devil hijack this crucial year in human history. Even in the current climate of America we see the devil trying to divide us all by focusing on the racist movement #blacklivesmatter. If the African American community truly cared about each other’s lives, they would be outraged at what is happening in cities like Chicago during the last two weeks. There have been over 300 homicides this year in Chicago alone and there is not a peep from the #blacklivesmatter spokespeople. This is because like any campaign, the devil is trying to hijack a movement that could be used for the greater good and try to divide us even further. That is why it is up to each of us, individually, to be the author of the “Plot Twist” that Pastor Steven Furtick so brilliantly preached last week. We have to be the hands and feet of the plot twist to take back 2020 and work it out for the good of mankind, before this year pushes us all into the deep end.
I began 2020 with a pledge to stay off social media and I found myself slipping as soon as the pandemic hit. I encourage all of you reading this blog to double-down on your efforts to abstain from the useless distractions of social media. Do not get pulled into useless debates on these platforms. By all means share anything uplifting because the internet is an unparalleled outlet to share information, but keep it at that. Use social media to share the goodness and grace of Jesus and let’s get 2020 back.
6Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9As it is written:
“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;
their righteousness endures forever.” (2 Corinthians 9:6-9)
It was hard to find a verse to focus on throughout this second letter to the church at Corinth. The church at Corinth had not heeded Paul’s advice from the first letter and continued to allow sin to run rampant through their ministry. Some of the leaders even seemed to question Paul’s validity as an Apostle, so much so that Paul dedicates most of this second letter as an autobiography of the struggles Paul faced as a traveling minister. But here, in the verses above, Paul speaks a powerful reminder to all in Christ about giving. God loves a cheerful giver.
Many Americans are wealthier than they have ever been in the history of this country. Many articles have been written about the ever widening gap between the upper percentage of America’s wealthiest and everyone else. I do not think that the ultra wealthy should just give all their fortunes away (even though Jesus did command that), but it will be extremely hard for the ultra wealthy to explain to God why a multi-million dollar home was needed above a nice, modest home that gives all the comforts a house needs. And how anyone can validate spending over $30,000 on a vehicle is beyond me, but I am not rich, I will never be rich, so it is hard for me to judge. And I probably do not give as much as some millionaires in terms of percentage. But I try to give as much as I can, sometimes even when it hurts to give. And I always know I can give more. There are many in society who judge me just like I pass judgment on the ultra wealthy.
But as we have studied recently, we are not to judge. God will do that in due time for us all. Just heed the words above and give as much as you can, as often as you can. And live a life of modesty. Love the simple things in life and seek happiness in only what God provides. Everything else just gathers dust, rust, and, generally, is a bust.
Reading plan: Reflect on Paul’s first three letters.
Deeper reading plan: Proverbs 28, 29, 30, 31
Prayer and meditation: Pray for our country. Pray for love to conquer all. Pray that Christ infects our hearts and ignites a final fire of revival to sweep this land.
Fitness challenge: Sprint work. The dreaded 400 meter. Remember to just focus on running the entire 400. Today we are going hitting our max and crushing eight!
½ mile warm-up
½ mile cool-down
Here is what we have to look forward to as we enter the second half of 2020:
Congratulations on making it half-way through the year! You are over half-way through the Bible. The reading plans will get easier and easier, so I hope that in your extra time you begin to spend more time serving and worshiping in your home church. This month my wife will be guest writing for some of these books!
Reading Plan: Paul continues to address the original Christian churches, writing letters to the Church at Galatia, Ephesus, Phillipi, and Colossae. Four different churches, four different books. We will break these up equally over the next 31 days.
Deeper Reading Plan: We’ll quickly knock out Ecclesastes and Song of Songs in the first week so we can spend more time enjoying the Book of Isaiah, one of the most influential and important prophets of the Old Testament.
Prayer and Meditation: we will continue to focus our prayers on the recovery of this country and the world from COVID and for healing for this hurt world over recent events. And we will continue to plead for a final revival that will change this world forever.
Fitness: We’re going to bump up our Saturday runs to 4 miles. Now’s the time to look for some 5k races to run. Sprints will see us do more ladders and a week of jumping to the 600. I’ll have a new calisthenic circuit and keep mixing it up at least one day a week.
Service and Church: Keep looking for ways to serve one day a week and hopefully we see churches reopen this month. When they do, get involved and become a servant for your church body.