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DAY 15

Power in Positivity

[5 minutes]
Mind Setter Moment: Take a look at Proverbs 12:13 at the beginning of your devotional time. There is one group in the Bible who heard the “cry of the poor” and responded with extravagant generosity. In the New Testament, we see how the early Christian church shared with one another so that “there was no needy person among them” Acts 4:34. What if we could say that about our church or our town? Write down the name of one person you can bless with a gift of generosity today. If you don’t know someone specifically, consider donating time or funds to a local ministry that serves the poor in your area.

[15 minutes]
Scripture reading:

Nehemiah 9:22-10:39
1 Corinthians 9:19-10:13
Psalm 34:1-10
Proverbs 21:13

Devotional thought
Both our new and old testament passages today focus on the concepts of slavery vs freedom. In the Old Testament they reference being in the land that God promised to their forefathers but finding themselves ‘enslaved’ to the king of Persia. In 1 Corinthians the apostle Paul says that outwardly he is a “slave” to everyone in an effort to bring people to Christ.

In both of these passages, we see the authors reminding us about the mistakes of the past and outlining a path forward for a different future. Both writers share a similar idea; If we want a different outcome, we need to engage in different behavior. There is even some overlap between the two lists.

One thing that stands out in both of these passages is the author’s commitment to learning from the past. It is easy and common to imagine the past as better than it was and the present as worse than it is. This can leave us wishing for a past that never existed while completely missing our opportunity to create the future we hope for. By considering history without rose-colored glasses we can look for ways to do better, be better, and improve the future for ourselves and those we love.

What applies to me?
Both of our passages today included challenges to make changes in our behavior based on recognizing mistakes from the past. The mistakes don’t even have to be our own. We can learn from the mistakes of our parents and grandparents too.

In Jewish culture historical accounts are often thought of as prophetic, because history has a way of repeating itself. They may be onto something with this. How many of us have repeated the same mistakes as our grandparents? How many of us struggle with the same addictions as our parents? We can either learn from mistakes, or we can continue to make them.

We change our patterns through changing our habits and we change our habits through daily discipline. In 1 Corinthians, Paul lists several mistakes made by the Israelites, and one of them was grumbling. Wait, grumbling? That thing we all do every day?

Speech is powerful, and negative speech has the power to send us in the opposite direction of where we want to go. If we could change one habit, changing the way we talk about ourselves, others, and our situation would be a great place to start!

[10 minutes]
Write it out: Write down the thing or person you are most negative about. It might be your job, spouse, finances, or boss. Now write down three things you are thankful for related to that situation.

Pray it out: spend some time giving thanks for the good things you listed about your difficult situation. Ask God for help to see the blessings in your life.

Live it out: Try to go all day without saying anything negative. When you catch yourself saying something negative, stop and say two positive things instead.