MUCH MORE

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 HOW MUCH MORE WILL GOD TAKE CARE OF YOU!

Matthew 6:26 – Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
Perched on a tree branch, two birds were observing passers-by rushing from one place to another. Looking at their faces, one bird asked the other, “Why is man so full of worries and cares?” The other bird answered, “Maybe they don’t have a heavenly Father like we do.”

I believe that the Lord made birds to tell us that we are of more value than many birds put together. In Matthew 10:29, Jesus said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin?” Then, in Luke 12:6, He said, “Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins?” If you do the math, you will realize that these sparrows are so cheap that you can buy four of them for two copper coins, and you get one thrown in for free!

Sparrows are common creatures in Israel. Yet, not even one of these cheap birds falls to the ground without the Father’s knowledge. (Matthew 10:29) Not one of them is forgotten before Him. (Luke 12:6) So will He forget you who are of more value than all these birds put together?

Jesus said, “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them.” And if your heavenly Father feeds the birds of the air, how much more will He feed you, His precious, beloved child!

“Why don’t I see the supply then?” you may ask.
The answer is worry. That is why Jesus also said, “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’…For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.” (Matthew 6:31–32)
Beloved, if your heavenly Father cares for cheap, common birds, and feeds them every day, how much more will He care for you, His dear, precious child! Let your heart be at rest as you hear Him say to you, “Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:31)

Thought For The Day
If your heavenly Father cares for common birds and feeds them every day, how much more will He care for you, His dear, precious child!

AN OVERCOMER …

In our front yard, we have this gorgeous oak tree. Its trunk is so strong, and the branches create this beautiful canopy over the front yard. When I look at it, I think about how at one point, it was just a tiny seed. Over the years, it developed into this tree because of the conditions it has been in. Just like that tree, you and I have everything we need inside of us to grow strong and steady in this life and become all that God has called us to be.

Sometimes we don’t feel equipped. Sometimes we don’t know if we have what it takes. It’s like when I pack my suitcase for a trip. Over the course of my life, I’ve done a lot of traveling. As much as I have packed, it seems that every time I go to close my suitcase, I start thinking, “Did I forget something? What am I missing? What if the weather changes? What if our schedule changes and I need something different?” I never quite feel like I have everything I need.

Many people get anxious before they travel. They want to be prepared; they don’t want to miss their flight, and they want to make sure they have everything they need when they reach their destination. In our spiritual journey, we may be tempted to get anxious, too. We may wonder if we are prepared for our destiny, if we have what it takes, or if we overlooked something we need. We want to be at the right place at the right time, and we want to please God. But do you think anyone ever looked at a growing oak tree and thought, “Oh, I wonder if it has what it takes to grow tall and strong. I wonder if that seed knows what it’s doing.” No, we just expect it to do what it is designed to do. We know it is equipped and will grow and flourish with some water and sunlight.

Today, I want to remind you that you are like that oak tree. God has placed everything you need within you in seed form, and He’s left nothing out! You have the right gifts and talents, you have the right personality, you have the right connections, and you have everything you need to make it through and overcome in this life. When you water your life with the Word of God and stay in the light of His countenance through worship, you are watering those seeds within.

Today, you don’t have to worry or be anxious about a single detail of your journey in life because He’s got you in the palm of His hand. You are created on purpose for a purpose, and you have what you need to be an overcomer in every area of life!

“… They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.” (Isaiah 61:3, NIV

PILATE CONDEMNS JESUS

Matthew 27:24 “When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.”

This washing of the hands was not only a symbolic custom of the day that showed innocence, but was also a ritual prescribed in the Jewish law (Dt. 21:6-7; Ps. 26:6).

Matthew is the only writer to record Pilate washing his hands of guilt, just as he was the only writer to record Pilate’s wife coming to him with the details of the dream she had about Jesus. Secular accounts record her name as Claudia. She is the only one who spoke for, instead of against Jesus’ life during the trial.

This dream, no doubt came from God, since Claudia would have had to dreamt it before she knew of Jesus being brought to Pilate. Not only did the Lord bare witness in Pilate’s heart to the innocence of Jesus, but He also gave Pilate’s wife a very clear message through this dream. Pilate was not innocent in this matter. Together, these instances underscore that Pilate did not innocently condemn Jesus to death. Pilate will be trying to wash the blood of Jesus off his hands throughout eternity.

Just as God was faithful to show even Pilate the truth in this situation, we can be assured that every person who has ever rejected Jesus has done it in spite of the conviction of the Holy Spirit in his heart (Rom. 1:18-20).

FIGHT FOR YOUR MARRIAGE

‘The wise have wealth and luxury…’ Proverbs 21:20 NLT

One of the most common issues that cause marriages to fail is finances.There’s a nice story about an usher who passed the collection plate at a church wedding. When one of the guests objected, he said, ‘I understand how you feel, but the father of the bride needs the money.’ Seriously, the number–one reason for divorce these days is money. That’s interesting, because we have more money today than at any time in the past. So what’s the problem?

In a nutshell, it’s our lifestyle. The more we have, the more we want, and the more we’re willing to go into debt to get it. When times are good that philosophy works, but in the last fifty years we’ve lived through ten recessions. For example, people who bought a home for $400,000, planning to sell it for $700,000 within a year or two, ended up losing everything because the housing market crashed. Imagine the stress that puts on a marriage! The strong endure; the weak don’t. We recently became reacquainted with a mostly forgotten word—frugality. It means buying only what you can afford. The Bible says, ‘In the house of the wise are stores…but a foolish man devours all he has.’ (Proverbs 21:20 NIV) Financial experts now recommend keeping a minimum of six months’ living expenses in a ‘rainy day’ account. In the last decade we’ve gone through a major and painful correction. It taught us that the secret of happiness in marriage isn’t spending all you’ve got, but saving, and taking time to enjoy what you have.

‘Marriage should be honoured…for God will judge the adulterer and…the…immoral.’ Hebrews 13:4 NIV

Clara Null says: ‘My Sunday school class was learning the Ten Commandments. When we got to “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” I wondered if I’d have to explain it. Sure enough, a seven–year–old girl raised her hand and asked, “What does ‘commit’ mean?”’ Seriously, if you live by impulse instead of commitment, your marriage will suffer. The word ‘commitment’ is best described in your wedding vows. Remember those? ‘Will you have this woman (or man) to be your lawful wedded wife (or husband)…to live together in God’s holy ordinance of marriage…to be faithful…in good times and bad, in sickness and health, and forsaking all others, remain faithful to her (or him)?’ That’s what you said before God!

A big hotel displayed this sign on its bulletin board for passing motorists to read: ‘Have your next affair with us!’ That’s not funny when you consider the ramifications! A prominent psychiatrist said, ‘I’ve counselled thousands of couples, and I’ve yet to meet my first happy adulterer.’ The results are always the same: shame, fear, loss, loneliness and depression. When you violate your own integrity, it’s hard to live in your own skin. Don’t be deceived by celebrities who hop from bed to bed. The secret to happiness in marriage isn’t finding the right person, it’s becoming the right person. The Bible says you’re supposed to care about the spiritual, emotional, material and sexual needs of your spouse. So start discussing these things. And if you find it difficult to talk about them, get help—your marriage is worth fighting for!

 KNOW YOU ARE GOD’S BELOVED AND WIN

…“You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” – Mark 1:11

As Jesus came out of the waters of baptism, the heavens parted, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him and the Father said to Him, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Then, going into the wilderness in the power of knowing that He was the Father’s beloved, our Lord Jesus overcame every one of the devil’s temptations.

My friend, when you know that you are the Father’s beloved because you are in Christ the Beloved, you will have the power to overcome every challenge the devil throws at you. You are probably familiar with the story of David and Goliath, but did you know that David’s name means “beloved”? It takes one who knows that he is God’s beloved to bring down the giants in life!

So whether your giant is a financial crisis, chronic illness or destructive addiction, rest in the knowledge that you are God’s beloved. It will strengthen and sustain you, and give you the faith, favor and wisdom to knock your giants down!

CALLED BY NAME

[Jesus] looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” —Luke 19:5

At the beginning of the academic year, a school principal in our city pledged to learn the names of all 600 students in her school. Anyone who doubted her ability or resolve could look at her track record. During the previous year she had learned the names of 700 students, and prior to that, 400 children in a different school. Think of what it must have meant to these students to be recognized and greeted by name.

The story of Zacchaeus and Jesus (Luke 19:1-10) contains a surprising element of personal recognition. As Jesus passed through the city of Jericho, a wealthy tax collector named Zacchaeus climbed a tree in order to see Him. “When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house’” (v.5). Instead of ignoring Zacchaeus or saying “Hey, you in the tree,” Jesus called him by name. From that moment on, his life began to change.

When it seems that no one knows you or cares who you are, remember Jesus. He knows us by name and longs for us to know Him in a personal way. Our Father in heaven sees us through His eyes of love and cares about every detail of our lives.

Father, thank You that my value in Your eyes is not determined by what I do but simply by the fact that You created me. Help me to recognize that same value in others as I represent You to the world.

Jesus knows you by name and longs for you to know Him.

HIDDEN IN HIM …

For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. – Psalm 27:5, NIV

What a wonderful promise we have that when we seek God, when we serve Him with our whole hearts, He will hide us in His shelter. That means you can be so connected to Father God that you are untouchable and invisible to the enemy! You are hidden in Him! No matter what is happening around you, you can have strength, confidence and rest. Challenges may come your way, but you won’t be worried about them. You know that ultimately, things are going to work out for your good. You know that no weapon formed against you shall prosper.

People may be talking, trying to make you look bad, but you don’t even give it a second thought. You know that your future is too bright to be distracted. You know they don’t control your destiny. You just keep on being your best, walking in integrity, meditating on the Word and worshiping throughout the day so you can stay hidden in Him!

ONE IN SPIRIT

Matthew 27:18 “For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.”

Many problems arise from envy. James said, “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work” (Jas. 3:16). Envy and strife go hand in hand and open the door to the devil to do anything he desires, in our life. Some people would never give place to the devil through confessing the wrong things, yet through envy, they give the enemy freedom to do his worst. God’s kind of love is not envious or jealous because it doesn’t seek it’s own, but seeks the welfare of others. Envy is an indication of self-centeredness.

The Apostle Paul had some opponents who were just like many people who sow strife today. They are against everything and critical of the way those in authority handle things. They make big statements about what they would do if they were in authority, but it’s all talk. They haven’t proven themselves successful in managing even the smallest things, yet they want to be put in charge of big things, just based on their talk. This is not the system of advancement that Jesus advocates (Mt. 25:21; Lk. 16:11-12; 19:17).

The Lord has united every born-again Christian by baptizing us all into the body of Christ. This is already a reality. Like it or not, want it or not, every Christian is completely one in spirit with every other Christian.

Failure to function as one, in our relationships with other believers means someone is not flowing in the Spirit. Our flesh is the part of us that gets in strife with other believers. As we operate in the Spirit more and more, we will come more and more into unity with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

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