Welcome to Daily Steps!
A weekly devotional message with daily scripture readings, prayer prompts, and action steps to help you spend time with Jesus and strengthen your relationship with Him.
2 Corinthians 3:2 The only letter of recommendation we need is you yourselves. Your lives are a letter written in our hearts; everyone can read it and recognize our good work among you.
Living letters of Jesus
When I heard the traumatic stories of people in India hit by the pandemic, I was filled with grief, doubt, anxiety, stress, and fear for my family. In the current difficult situation, we need to stop and consider our role replacing the fears in our minds with prayer and worship.
Recent time has presented us with several opportunities to choose to be the living letters of Christ. Relying on God to deal with our suffering and cries of pain, we remind ourselves and others of the promise of God to his people that although there will be hard times, God will accompany his people through the hard times and sustain them.
The path through suffering encourages us to focus our attention on Christ. When we shift our gaze to our suffering, taking our eyes off Christ, suffering becomes a distraction that hinders our discipleship. The call to live as followers of Jesus Christ and make disciples remains, despite the clamor around us. As believers, we are called to be the body of Christ and to participate in the mission of God in the world, as much now as at any other time. This call stays the same. The particular ways we live out and express that calling may change, but we are called to live, serve, speak, and give as much now as ever. Viruses and economic problems do not absolve us of our call to live faithfully and actively. Alongside our call to prayer, there needs to be a call to action... a prayer of intercession, encouragement, or deliverance. Meditating on God's miraculous intervention and counting our blessings each day is, first and foremost, an act of worship. Still, we need to remember that such intervention will happen if it serves God's purpose, not because it gives us hope to return to what we perceive as "normal."
Living life as a letter of recommendation from Christ is not easy. We often make choices based on what is most effortless, most pleasant, or least painful. The way of the Lord is different from what the world expects from us. It's about making difficult choices in every situation. The life of Jesus was not easy. He teaches us to walk boldly and fearlessly. When we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us into a relationship with Jesus Christ and make Him Lord over our daily lives, he will write His word on our hearts so that we can make those difficult choices with certainty, courage, and peace. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are letters written by Him to the world. We are known and read by everybody with whom our lives intersect. God wants us, as His handwritten letters, to give everyone we encounter a glimpse of His grace and its power to transform their lives, even if they’re not a follower of Jesus Christ.
When we view our lives as living letters of Christ, we will notice an inward journey of transformation. How we define our own lives directly impacts how we relate to others and the world around us. Thinking of our lives as a letter of Christ completely changes our perspective on trials, suffering, and grief. Even our relationships with difficult people shift so that we see others more easily through the lens of Jesus’ love and not our own judgments. Every situation we enter will present itself as an opportunity to live out the words that Jesus is writing on your heart to love and serve God. The fruits of the Holy Spirit, like joy, boldness, fearlessness, patience, love, kindness, wisdom, faith, abundance, generosity, and so many other traits of Jesus are reflected more and more in our lives for all the world to see.
Daily Bible Readings
This week, as you go through the daily readings below, ask the Holy Spirit to make each of the passages deeply personal and applicable to you. (NOTE: We suggest that you read each of these passages in several different versions of the Bible, including at least one paraphrase version.) As you contemplate these passages, make time to pray before and after you read them. Write down anything the Holy Spirit whispers to your soul.
Monday - Read 1 Thessalonians 1:6. What do trials mean to you? Are you able to find joy in severe suffering? Invite the Holy Spirit into your trials and surrender to receive supernatural joy. Everything that you currently have is a blessing from God. Keep your thoughts focused on all the blessings that God has given you in life. Don’t let your mind become filled with negativity, disappointment, hopelessness. As you wait patiently for the Lord to answer your prayer, live with gratitude and faith. Rejoice in the knowledge that the prayers are answered. Fill your brokenness in the hope that you will heal in His time. Make flashcards with bible verses on strength and courage and pick 3 cards each morning, as God’s message for you, for the day.
Tuesday - Read Philippians 1:27-30. Audit your life from time to time to check if you are conducting yourself in a manner worthy of the Gospel. Given the way social media feeds us all with self-serving lifestyles, it's easy to get mixed up between God's way and the world's expectation of us. Being a people pleaser is not God's way. Yet living life as a letter is not the same as living life being a people pleaser. It's the tough choice of saying no to what the world expects of us. As Christians, we need to do the difficult work of finding our purpose and calling in life, and living in alignment with the Holy Spirit’s guidance. We tend to fill up our time with social gatherings and give in to the pressure of friends to indulge in activities. It's hard to say no because we’re afraid of being labeled as anti-social or introverted. There is a delicate balance between loving our neighbor and having boundaries. We need to stand firm and say no to anything that does not align with God's purpose for our lives. Make a list of all your activities that you do throughout the day and next to each activity, write SS (self-serving), JS (Jesus serving). This will help you take stock of how much percent of your day is spent, living in God’s purpose.
Wednesday - Read John 13:35. My all-time favorite song is “By Our Love,” by the band for KING & COUNTRY. The lyric that jumps out at me every time is, “And they will know we are Christians by our love.” How many times have you passed up on guiding or encouraging someone toward the right decision, leaving them on their own to learn the lesson or figure it out after making mistakes? How many times have you stopped yourself from giving someone emotional support, thinking that it's not your job to interfere in others' lives? Loving one another is a huge commitment. When we truly love others, we are willing to go the extra mile to do what Jesus would say or do for them. Jesus did not let his lost sheep go astray. We have a responsibility to love not only our family and church community but also our friends and neighbors who do not know Christ. Each week ask God to send you at least one person to introduce to Christ through your words or actions.
Thursday - Read Luke 6:40. Many of us have no hesitation to train for something we want, such as learning a new job skill, training for a marathon, or logging hours at the gym to lose weight. Training takes discipline, patience, endurance, and practice. Praying does not eliminate training. We need to constantly train our minds to live by the Lord's Word. Reading and studying the Bible, listening to sermons, being a part of a community group, and serving others is a part of the training. To be a living letter of Jesus, we need to submit to continuous training by the Holy Spirit. Paul wrote so many letters — even from prison — because he was well-qualified to talk about God's Word. He had given himself practical training in the wilderness. If we want to live our life as per God's purpose, we need to train ourselves. Rigorous training and discipline lead to success in God's work. Most times, we make the easy choice of reading the Bible, praying in the comfort of our homes, going to church on Sundays, and wondering why God has not opened up more spiritual opportunities for us. Getting out of your comfort zone and putting your love into action in the community around you, and genuinely committing to training yourself to use the gifts that God has given you will lead to the kind of success that God wants for you. It’s not about what you know about God, but it's what you do with what you know. Sit in silence and reflect on your life. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the areas in which you need more training to do the Lord’s work. It could be writing, singing, speaking, praying, etc. Commit yourself to spend time growing and learning in the areas in which He has called you to serve others.
Friday - Read 1 John 2:6. First, make a list of your qualities and how you live in all major areas of your life: relationships, finance, career, health, personal growth, talents, and hobbies. Second, make a comparative list of how Jesus lived His life in all the same areas. Finally, compare Jesus’ list with yours and look for areas of improvement. Spend time in prayer asking the Holy Spirit to show you how to start working on them with His wisdom, endurance, and power.
TAKE YOUR NEXT STEP
Grow closer to God each day and explore what it means to be a part of bringing the Kingdom of Heaven down to earth.
Want to Go Even Further?
Check out our companion study guide to use with your community group, neighbors, or family members! Each week includes thought-provoking questions for discussion or individual study based on this week's sermon topic.
Get Your Worship On!
Do you love the worship music at Cornerstone? Then our worship YouTube channel is for you! Enjoy all your favorites now, featuring the worship teams from all of our campuses! PLUS...there is a new original song this week. You won't want to miss it!
CF Worship ChannEl on YouTube