For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. – Psalm 84:11, NIV
God wants to pour out His favor and goodness in your life. He longs to be your sun and shield. What does that mean? The sun lights our way; it keeps us warm; it nourishes the plants of the earth so that we can have food. The entire earth is sustained by its relationship to the sun, and God wants to sustain you through your relationship with Him. He wants to be your shield of protection against all the fiery darts of the enemy, and He wants to light and direct your path.
Is there someone or something else you’ve been relying on for protection or direction? Why don’t you let go of whatever you’ve been leaning on and choose to lean of God. Open your heart and trust that He has great things for your future. Receive His favor, blessing and protection today because He is your sun and shield!
THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP :
Luke 14:28 “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?”
The parable of the man building a tower is a continuation of the teaching regarding what it takes to be a disciple of Jesus. This parable stresses commitment. “Jailhouse religion,” where a person is only sorry he got caught and is trying to get out of a bad situation, will not produce true discipleship. It takes a forsaking of all to be Jesus’ disciple. Jesus is simply saying, “count the cost.”
Jesus’ teaching on discipleship emphasizes commitment. Just as a king wouldn’t engage in war without thoroughly considering all the possible outcomes, so no one should attempt to become a disciple of Jesus without counting the cost. It would be better not to start following Jesus than to start and then turn back.
When a person first comes to Jesus, it is impossible to know everything that following Jesus might entail. No one, however, should be fearful of making a total commitment because of some imagined problem that may never come to pass. There should be a willingness to forsake everything to follow Jesus.
Once we make that decision, then Christ begins to live through us (Gal. 2:20) and we find a strength that is not our own, equal to whatever test we may encounter.
THE WORK OF OUR HANDS
Because you have forgotten the God of your salvation, . . . the harvest will be a heap of ruins. —Isaiah 17:10–11
Spring had just turned into summer and crops were beginning to produce fruit as our train rolled across the fertile landscape of West Michigan’s shoreline. Strawberries had ripened, and people were kneeling in the morning dew to pick the sweet fruit. Blueberry bushes were soaking up sunshine from the sky and nutrients from the earth.
After passing field after field of ripening fruit, we came to a rusty pile of abandoned metal. The harsh image of orange scrap metal poking out of the earth was a sharp contrast to the soft greens of growing crops. The metal produces nothing. Fruit, on the other hand, grows, ripens, and nourishes hungry humans.
The contrast between the fruit and the metal reminds me of God’s prophecies against ancient cities like Damascus (Isa. 17:1,11). He says, “Because you have forgotten the God of your salvation, . . . the harvest will be a heap of ruins” (Isa. 17:10-11). This prophecy serves as a contemporary warning about the danger and futility of thinking we can produce anything on our own. Apart from God, the work of our hands will become a pile of ruins. But when we join with God in the work of His hands, God multiplies our effort and provides spiritual nourishment for many.
Lord, I want to be a part of what You are doing in Your world. Apart from You, my work is nothing. Lead me, fill me, use me. Nourish others through me.
“Without Me you can do nothing.” —Jesus (John 15:5)
FEAST ON THE WORD :
Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. – Matthew 4:4
The Word of God is to your spirit as bread is to your body. When your body feeds on physical food, it produces a physical power called strength. When your spirit feeds on the spiritual food of the Word, it produces spiritual power called faith. And just as you can’t eat one meal and then feed on the memory of it for several weeks, you can’t just remember what the Word says and stay strong in faith. You have to read it. Even if you’ve read it a hundred times, you need to read it again.
Try this: Close your eyes and see yourself slicing a lemon. Now stick that lemon slice between your teeth and when I say, “Three,” bite down on it so hard that the juice squirts into your mouth. One. Two. Three. Bite!
Chances are, you have such a vivid memory of what it’s like to bite on a lemon that your mouth is watering right now. But let me ask you this, “Have you received any nourishment from that memory?” No.
Remembering the Word of God isn’t enough. You must continually feed on what it says. Get it out and read it. Go to church and hear it preached.
One day, you’ll read a familiar verse…a verse you’ve read thousands of times before…and suddenly God will give you the greatest revelation you’ve ever had. A completely fresh revelation from that old familiar verse! And it’s likely to be exactly what you needed to know about your current situation.
Yes, you can feed on the Word that is on deposit in your spirit. But remember this: You can’t get continued results if you don’t spend time in prayer and in the Word of God allowing the Spirit to nourish you daily.
Don’t try to live on the memory of your last spiritual meal. Replenish the force of faith within you. Feast on the Word of God today.
JESUS HEALS AND RESTORES
Jesus came to heal the broken heart. He said, “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted.” When Jesus said this, He was reading from Isaiah 61. The word heal that Jesus used here can also mean restoration. When something is healed, it is restored to its previous condition. It is completely fixed and whole. In other words, Jesus came to fix, to mend, to complete the thing that has been broken. Jesus came to mend the broken heart completely.
The world teaches that if you have a problem, you will always have that problem. All you can do is to modify your behavior so that you won’t drink, you won’t take drugs, or you won’t have crying spells.
Jesus came to heal all that. Jesus does not cover it up, but He heals it. Jesus did not come to modify your behavior. He came to heal you completely so that you will be just as healed as someone who has never had the problem. You do not have to live with disappointments and discouragements or a broken heart. We must deal with all disappointments quickly or they will develop into discouragement and a broken heart.
But the good news is this – Jesus can restore and fix your broken heart. He can make it “shalom.”
PRAYER FOR THE DAY :
“Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture.” (Psalm 100: 1-3)
Dear Lord God, I praise You. I honor You. I see Your holy face in every sunrise; Your smile breaks through the cloud with radiant sunshine. Your holiness brightens up the world and Your righteousness purifies everyone’s heart. O God, let Your servant flourish like palm trees and make me grow strong in Christ day by day.
Gratefully, in Jesus’ holy name. Amen !!!
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