HOW TENDER IS GODS HEART TOWARD YOU
Ephesians 2:7 – that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Have you ever blown things out of proportion and gotten angry with God when you were going through a trying time? This happened to Jesus disciples when a storm hit them hard. In their fear of drowning, they cried out to Jesus, who was getting some much-needed sleep in the boat, Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing? (Mark 4:38)
For accusing Him of not caring, you would think that they received a rebuke from Jesus. But it was the wind which received His rebuke, and a great calm followed. (Mark 4:39) Because of His tenderness toward His own, Jesus did not waste time taking offence. Instead, He wasted no time taking care of the problem that had caused His disciples so much anxiety and fear.
This also happened to two sisters, Martha and Mary, who did not hesitate to let Jesus know how they felt when He finally showed up days after their brother Lazarus had died. Both sisters made the same remark to Him: Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. (John 11:21, 32)
Both sisters had seen Jesus miracles of mercy and love. Now, in their grief, they focused on how He could have prevented their brothers death, but did not. They did not know His heart how tender it was toward them and how His help would never fail them, but would even extend to raising their dead brother. (John 11:4144)
Beloved, your heavenly Father sees you trying to stay afloat when you are in the midst of a storm. He sees you trying to provide for yourself and your family, and thinking, If I don’t take care of these things, no one else will! And He wants you to know how tender His heart is toward you, how He is not offended by all the bad things you have ever said of or to Him. He wants you to know how much He wants to and will help and bless you. So let go and experience afresh the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward you!
Victory is not dependent on the pressures without, but rather on the Holy Spirit within.
YOU WILL NEVER CHANGE YOUR LIFE UNTIL YOU CHANGE YOUR CHOICES.
If you want something in your life to change, then you’ll have to change your choices and actions. That is because doing the same thing will never get you different results.
In other words, what you do — the choices you make, the way you treat people, the attitudes you have — all impact your life. If, by your actions, you’re sowing bad seeds, then you’ll reap a harvest of those things. 2 Corinthians 9:6 says, Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
Therefore, if you want to reap abundant harvests in your life, start sowing abundant seeds. That may require changing your choices; but until you change your choices, you’ll never change your life.
We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works. —Ephesians 2:10
For 3 weeks every fall season, our city becomes an art gallery. Nearly 2,000 artists from around the world display their creations in galleries, museums, hotels, parks, city streets, parking lots, restaurants, churches, and even in the river.
Among my favorite entries are mosaics made from small pieces of colored glass. The winning entry in 2011 was a 9 x 13-foot stained-glass mosaic of the crucifixion by artist Mia Tavonatti. While viewing the artwork, I heard the artist discuss how many times she had cut herself while shaping the pieces of glass for her mosaic.
As I gazed at the beautiful rendition of what was a horrific event, I saw more than a representation of the crucifixion—I saw a picture of the church, the body of Christ. In each piece of glass I saw an individual believer, beautifully shaped by Christ to fit together into the whole (Eph. 2:16,21). In the artist’s story, I recognized the shedding of Jesus’ blood so that this unity could take place. And in the finished artwork, I saw the act of love required to complete the project despite pain and sacrifice.
We who believe in Christ are a work of art created by God to show the greatness of a Savior who makes something beautiful out of the broken pieces of our lives.
The church’s one foundation
Is Jesus Christ her Lord,
She is His new creation,
By water and the Word.
Christ gave everything to make something beautiful of His church.
HOW TO EXPERIENCE ETERNAL LIFE TODAY
John 17:3 “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
In order to fully understand what eternal life is, it is helpful to understand what it is not. Eternal life is not living forever. Everyone lives forever in either heaven or hell. Also, eternal life is not living forever in the blessings of heaven as opposed to being tormented in hell.
John 3:36 and 5:24 show that eternal life is a present tense possession of the believer.
Here, Jesus defines eternal life as knowing God the Father and Jesus Christ.
As we have already discussed, the word “know” is speaking of intimacy instead of mere intellectual knowledge. Therefore, eternal life is having an intimate, personal relationship with God the Father and Jesus the Son.
According to John 3:16, this intimacy with God is what salvation is all about. Forgiveness of our sins is not the point of salvation: intimacy with the Father is. Of course, Jesus did die to purchase forgiveness for our sins because unforgiven sins block us from intimacy with God. Sin was an obstacle that stood between us and God. It had to be dealt with and it was. Anyone who views salvation as only forgiveness of their sins and stops there, is missing out on eternal life.
Salvation is intended to be the way to come back into harmony with God.
Instead, it is often presented as the way to escape the problems of this life and the judgment of hell later.
Most non-believers are so occupied with their “hell on earth” that they don’t really think or care about their eternal future. They are fed up with religion and are looking for something that will fill the emptiness inside.
Only intimate relationship (eternal life) with our Father can do that.
GRACE FOR YOUR DARKEST MOMENTS
And when the dew fell on the camp in the night, the manna fell on it. -Numbers 11:9
Look at today’s verse and notice that the manna fell on the camp of the Israelites during the night.
My friend, night speaks of the darkest moments in one’s life. This means that in your darkest moments, God is still supplying you His “manna” or grace. He has not abandoned you and left you to your own devices. No, He is still there with you, caring for you, watching over you and working things out for your good.
So beloved, rest in God’s love for you and let Him sort things out for you. Stop trying to solve the problem in your own strength and wisdom—let God be God to you. He is with you, for your success and will provide for your needs. His grace for you falls afresh every day. His mercies that are new every morning will also see you through the darkest nights!
Today, just see His grace upon you and all around you. Be conscious of it, thank Him for it, and see His grace do wonders for you!
THE POWER OF PRAYER
‘Pray without ceasing.’ 1 Thessalonians 5:17 NKJV
When the Bible says, ‘Pray without ceasing,’ that means pray every day, not just periodically or when you’re in trouble. ‘The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.’ (James 5:16 NKJV) The word ‘fervent’ means passionate, persistent and determined. It’s not the number of our prayers, how many they are; nor the rhetoric of our prayers, how eloquent they may be; nor the geometry of our prayers, how long they may be; nor the music of our prayers, how sweet our voice may be; nor the logic of our prayers, how argumentative they may be; nor the method of our prayers, how orderly they may be; nor even the theology of our prayers, how good the doctrine is, that God responds to. Fervency of spirit is what ‘avails much’. The most powerful thing you can do is pray! And when you join with a prayer partner, your potential is awesome. ‘If two of you agree on earth concerning anything that [you] ask, it will be done for them by My Father in Heaven.’ (Matthew 18:19 NKJV) It works like this: the less you pray, the less you want to pray; the more you pray, the more you want to pray. Nothing will motivate you to pray like answered prayer. But you can’t start with the answer; you’ve got to start with the prayer! Here’s a fact of life: we only keep doing what rewards us. So the key to building a great prayer life is to pray until you get answers. Think how deeply rooted doubt has actually become in our hearts when we’re surprised to find our prayers answered! So pray in faith and expect God to answer!
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