IGNORE THE CRITICS
When Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him. – Acts 11:2, NIV
One time, Jesus was in the temple. It was on the Sabbath, their day of rest. He saw a man with a withered hand. Jesus simply said, “Stretch forth your hand,” and immediately, the man was healed. The religious leaders, the Pharisees, were there and didn’t like Jesus. Even though He did something great, they ridiculed Him for doing it on the Sabbath, the day of rest.
No matter what you do, some people are not going to be for you. Even if you changed, met all their demands and did everything they asked, they would still find something wrong. But, we can all save a lot of heartache and pain by learning to ignore those critical voices. You don’t need those people’s approval. You don’t have to have them cheering you on. They may try to make you look bad, but if you will stay on the high road and let God fight your battles, the more they talk the more God will bless you. They may try to take you down, but God will use it to take you up. Keep focused on your future, keep focused on the Word and let His truth strengthen you to ignore the critics!
COMMUNE WITH JESUS THROUGH HIS WORD
It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. – John 6:63
Every day, when you open your Bible, ask Jesus to speak to you through His Spirit in you. Don’t read the Bible just to accumulate knowledge. Don’t just go through the motion so that you feel you’ve done your quiet time. Open the Bible and really have communion with Jesus.
Jesus said, “…The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” So feed on and nourish yourself with His words of life. When you go to the Word really wanting to have communion with Him, He will speak to you. And when you close the Bible, you will, as the prophet says in Isaiah 55, go out with joy and be led forth in peace.
Everywhere you go, instead of thorn bushes and briers, evergreen and fruitful cypress and myrtle trees will grow (Isaiah 55:12–13). In other words, areas of barrenness and evidences of the curse will give way to fruitfulness and blessings!
Beloved, open your Bible today and ask the Lord for His life-giving words. Tell Him, “Jesus, I want to commune with You. Quicken me according to Your words.” He will surely commune with you, minister words of life to you and lead you to good success!
Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.—Ps 103:5
Health is something everyone wants. Billions of dollars are spent each year trying to retain or restore health. It is a basic desire of all mankind. Anyone who likes sickness must be mentally sick! Yet, religion has told us that God is the one who wants us sick. It even tries to make us believe that sickness is a blessing. That’s just not true. God wants you well.
Remember the Bible accounts of two different kings who wanted Sarah, Abraham’s wife, for their harems? Can you recall how old she was then? She was 65 when Pharaoh desired her, and 90 when Abimelech wanted her! My friend, these were heathen kings. I am sure that it was not because they were captivated by her inner or spiritual beauty. God must have literally renewed her youth physically! Beloved, God’s Word promises a literal and physical renewal of your youth and strength. This means that if you are tired and you need more strength, God renews the strength of your physical body and causes you to have energy like that of a teenager’s! If you need help remembering things, He improves your memory and boosts your mental performance. If it is health that you need, God can also cause every organ in your body to function at its peak! Right now, just look to Him and receive that very renewal of youth for your body today!
Because God loves you, you can overcome every trouble you face. So cast off every fear and know that God has your victory sealed!
We can be confident in God’s ability, because we know that He loves us and has our success on His mind.
One of the great advantages of speaking in tongues is that when we speak in tongues, we’re praying from our spirit & not our head. I Cor 14:14
CIRCUMCISION IS A MATTER OF THE HEART
John 18:14 “Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.”
The physical nation of Israel still has a very important part to play in God’s plan. They have a prominent role in end-time prophecy. However, the physical nation of Israel has been displaced in importance by the spiritual seed of Abraham, that is the church of Jesus Christ.
Christians are the true circumcised people of God. In Romans 2:28-29, Paul reveals that true circumcision is a matter of the heart, not the flesh, and that true Judaism is through new birth, not physical birth.
In Colossians 2:11, Paul says that spiritual circumcision was done by God without the hands of man. This circumcision, that was made without hands, proves that it was not done in the physical. Paul is referring to the spiritual circumcision of the heart. The sins of our heart were cut away and discarded through the sacrifice of Christ in a similar way that the foreskin is removed from a male. The physical act of circumcision is a picture of the spiritual circumcision that is now a reality in every born-again believer.
The condition of a person’s flesh is not the important thing. It doesn’t matter if the flesh is circumcised or holy. It is the condition of the spirit that matters with God. Those who put faith in their circumcision to save them are putting confidence in the flesh and not in God. Today, the act of circumcision is not the issue, but acts of holiness are still deemed by many as essential for receiving salvation. That is just as wrong as those in Paul’s day who believed that being circumcised granted them salvation.
DEALING WITH DISTRACTIONS
The cares of this world . . . choke the word. —Matthew 13:22
A restaurant owner in the village of Abu Ghosh, just outside Jerusalem, offered a 50-percent discount for patrons who turned off their cell phones. Jawdat Ibrahim believes that smartphones have shifted the focus of meals from companionship and conversation to surfing, texting, and business calls. “Technology is very good,” Ibrahim says. “But . . . when you are with your family and your friends, you can just wait for half an hour and enjoy the food and enjoy the company.”
How easily we can be distracted by many things, whether in our relationship with others or with the Lord.
Jesus told His followers that spiritual distraction begins with hearts that have grown dull, ears that are hard of hearing, and eyes that are closed (Matt. 13:15). Using the illustration of a farmer scattering seed, Jesus compared the seed that fell among thorns to a person who hears God’s Word but whose heart is focused on other things. “The cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful” (v.22).
There is great value in having times throughout each day when we turn off the distractions of mind and heart and focus on the Lord.
O Lord, help me to turn off all the distractions around me and focus on You.
May my heart be good soil for the seed of Your Word today.
Focusing on Christ puts everything else in perspective.
THREE THINGS WE OWE EACH OTHER
‘Encouraged…by…mutual faith.’ Romans 1:12 NKJV
Paul talks about three things we owe each other. Let’s look at them:
(1) ‘Without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers.’(Romans 1:9 NKJV) An unknown poet wrote, ‘I was a poor soul in the depth of despair, who climbed to the heights in answer to prayer.’ You can show no greater love and concern for someone than to say, ‘I’m praying for you,’ and do it! Prayer is submitting to God in the situation, letting Him know your requests and asking for His will to be done.
(2) ‘I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established.’(Romans 1:11 NKJV) What did Paul long for? The chance to strengthen his fellow believers, and he was willing to travel a long way at great personal risk to do it. When two people decide to recognise and nurture the God–given gifts in each other, not only are they blessedpersonally, everybody around them benefits too.
(3) ‘That I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.’Notice the words ‘encouraged’ and ‘mutual faith’. There are powerful dynamics at work here! First, we pray for one another. Second, we recognise and nurture God’s gifts in one another. Third, we unite our faith and focus on a shared goal. Paul said: ‘For the Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.’ (Romans 14:17-19 NAS)
LET PRAYER BE A FLOW
…your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. – Matthew 6:8
God wants you to have a real relationship with Him. He wants you to talk freely with Him without obligation or a time limit. When you meet someone you love at a café for a chat, do you put a clock in front of him or her and say, “I’ll give you an hour. Your time starts now”? Of course not! You don’t rigidly follow some regimen when you talk to someone you truly have a relationship with.
My friend, that’s what your prayer times with God ought to be—a flow, not a regimental routine you carry out legalistically. For example, you might be troubled about something and when you talk to God about it, time just passes so quickly. Before you know it, an hour has passed. At other times, it may just be a short prayer like, “Father, please get me out of this traffic jam.” Then, there are times you just want to close your door and get on your knees to pray.
Today, remember that God wants to have a relationship with you. He wants to hang out with you, and He simply wants you to enjoy His presence. So start talking to Him as you would your best friend and enjoy the blessings, peace and joy that come from sweet fellowship with Him!
Just because it hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen. Stay in faith, stay the course, and stay on the path to victory!
NEED HEALING AND MIRACLES FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS