by Angie Thomas

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Eph. 2:10)

Good works? What are those exactly? The truth is I could come up with a list of things that would seem “good” to me.  They would probably include things that I enjoy doing and have time to fit into my schedule.  Volunteering a few hours for a favorite charity or cause?  Helping my elderly neighbor? Giving some money to my church or favorite ministry? These are all good things, right? But is that what Paul is talking about or do we need to approach this topic from a different perspective?

Jesus’s words in John 5:30 give us a clear example to follow: “I can do nothing on my own… …I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.”  If we really allow ourselves to digest what Jesus is saying here it will fly in the face of our self-directed good works.  Jesus, God incarnate, says He does nothing on his own.  Stunning.  Surely Jesus had enough God-given intelligence and faculty to make decisions on what good works he should participate in while He walked this earth?

But Jesus models to us humility and dependence upon God.  How challenging this is for our hearts to comprehend when we are inundated with the independent, self-seeking messages of our culture that tell us to “Chase your dreams.” Sadly, this is even the message often being taught in the Church.  “Follow your heart and your passions and take Jesus along for the ride.”  Sorry folks, but I don’t think that is what Jesus had in mind when he said, “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matt. 16:25). I know it might seem like I am beating a dead horse with this message but it is so foundational to what Jesus taught while on this earth.

But here is the really amazing news! When we humbly submit to Jesus and agree to follow Him wherever He leads and do whatever he asks us to do we get the incredible privilege of joining Him in His good works.  We must be willing to humbly follow Him throughout our days, constantly asking for His leading and guidance.  We must lay aside our dreams and ask Him for eyes to see His dreams, the work He is doing to establish His kingdom here on earth.  Jesus told us to pray for God’s kingdom to come, for His will to be done.

And can I be honest with you, sometimes His work is messy and dirty and not exactly what I would choose. It will at times be uncomfortable and stretching.  It may seem odd, even to your Christian friends. But, as you trust Him and follow in obedience the still small voice of the Spirit, you will watch God move in incredible ways.  Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12). Can you imagine? God has already gone ahead of you, preparing the role and work He has for you in ushering in His kingdom.

And when you feel overwhelmed and inadequate to the tasks and the work He is calling you to, remember this amazing promise from 2 Corinthians 9:8: “And God is able to make all grace abound to you,so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times,you may abound in every good work.”

Thistlebend Quiet eMoment

by Laurie Aker

Focus Scripture: Luke 9:6 ESV
6 And they departed and went through the villages,  
preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.

People may think they are preaching the gospel
when they invite someone to church,
or when they pray with them,or do a kind thing for them.
All of those things are wonderful.
But this is not the gospel.

God is God and we are not.
He is holy, holy, holy.
He is our Creator and God.
One day we are going to stand before Him.
We will be judged, not according to our own criteria,
or the law of our land, or our church elders,
or even our sixth grade teacher Miss Bramblebee.
We’ll be judged according to God’s law and our ability to keep it.
That is certainly bad news because we can’t.

Or God will see us in Jesus Christ
and we will be judged according to
His ability to keep the law.

That is certainly good news!
Jesus lived a perfect life,
keeping the law that we could not.
And then He died in our place
taking our sin upon Himself,
receiving God’s wrath in our stead.

2 Corinthians 5:21
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin,  
so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy
the justice and the righteousness of God.
Then He rose from the dead!


The Bible makes it clear that we can not be made
acceptable by what we do
but only in Christ.
He alone is perfect.
Only He can save us from our sins
and the eternal judgment of a holy, righteous God.
It is in Christ and in Him alone
that we can be saved.

This is the gospel.

Galatians 2:20-21
20 I have been crucified with Christ.
It is no longer I who live,
but Christ who lives in me.  
And the life I now live in the flesh  
I live by faith in the Son of God,  
who loved me and gave himself for me. 
21 I do not nullify the grace of God,  
for if righteousness were through the law,
then Christ died for no purpose.


Chose one truth from today and apply it to your heart.
Take it with you throughout the day.


Lord God, thank you so much for the incredible,
wonderful gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ!

In His hands for His glory,

by Laurie Aker

We are not merely to worship the Lord for His power and glory as if we look on these things from a distance and admire their beauty in a detached way, as we might admire a fine painting. No. We are to enter into worship with all of our being. But we also must recognize it is God’s power and glory that enable us to worship Him in the first place! Paul prays for the Ephesians “that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:16-19). Then Paul makes the astounding statement that God’s power is actually at work in us (Eph. 3:20). Pray this prayer for yourself and those you love.


This blog post is an excerpt from the Thistlebend Discipleship Study Falling in Love Again with Your Lord available here.