Take heed . . . lest you forget the things your eyes have seen . . . . And teach them to your children and your grandchildren. —Deuteronomy 4:9
Many people take great care to make sure their resources are used well after they die. They set up trusts, write wills, and establish foundations to guarantee that their assets will continue to be used for a good purpose after their life on earth is done. We call this good stewardship.
Equally important, however, is being good stewards of our life story. God commanded the Israelites not only to teach their children His laws but also to make sure they knew their family history. It was the responsibility of parents and grandparents to make sure their children knew the stories of how God had worked in their behalf (Deut. 4:1-14).
God has given each of us a unique story. His plan for our lives is individualized. Do others know what you believe and why? Do they know the story of how you came to faith and how God has worked in your life to strengthen your faith? Do they know how God has shown Himself faithful and has helped you through doubts and disappointments?
The faithfulness of God is a story that we have the privilege to pass on. Record it in some way and share it. Be a good steward of the story that God is telling through you.
How great, O God, Your acts of love!
Your saving deeds would now proclaim
That generations yet to come
May set their hope in Your great name.
A life lived for God leaves a lasting legacy.
SHUT INTO SAFETY BY THE LORD HIMSELF
So those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him [Noah]; and the Lord shut him in. – Genesis 7:16
Noah and his sons didn’t shut themselves in the ark. It was the Lord Himself who shut them in so that they would be protected from the great flood.
“Pastor, does it really matter who shut them in?”
My friend, when the Lord shuts you in, you have complete and perfect security! When the Lord shuts a door, who can open it? No foe, whether human, angelic or diabolical, no force of nature, can open the door that the Lord Himself has shut. When the huge waves pounded repeatedly on the door of the ark, it remained shut, and Noah and his family members were kept safe and sound.
Moreover, when building the ark, God told Noah to “cover it inside and outside with pitch” (Genesis 6:14). This was to make it watertight. The Hebrew word for “cover” here is kaphar, which means “to make an atonement.” The Hebrew word for “pitch” here is kopher, which means “ransom” or “redemption price.” So right here you see the atoning sacrifice of Jesus, who gave His life a ransom for all (Matthew 20:28). He is our true ark and we have a watertight salvation in Him!
Today, we are shut in securely in Christ because we are in Him (1 Corinthians 1:30). We are shut into safety. We are shut into preservation. When the storms and floods come, when there is death, destruction and danger all around, we can expect safety, provision and peace because the Lord Himself has shut us in Him!
If you’ll keep the door of faith open to God and give Him time to work, He will restore what the devil has stolen from you and repair what’s been broken. He wants you whole.
VALUE CHRIST HIGHER THAN SELF
And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. – Matthew 28:9
Self-denial is embraced by much of Christianity today. Historically, self-denial has always been a big part of false religion. Most religions of the world teach an abasement of self, but they do it as penitence in order to obtain salvation. This is not the denying of self that the Bible advocates.
True self-denial as the scriptures promote is not self hatred or masochism, but rather an enthroning of Christ above self. We have a new identity in Christ that replaces the old self. We don’t deny self in order to obtain salvation, but it is a love response to what Christ has already done for us. He gave His all for us and we willingly give our all back to Him.
Denying self in an attempt to earn salvation is most always motivated by guilt and characterized by rigid rules. True Christianity, on the other hand, is not the observance of rituals, but a relationship that produces holiness as a fruit and not the root of salvation.
Holiness doesn’t come from the outside and work its way inside. When we are born again we become righteous, and we work that holiness out into our physical lives.
Trying to destroy the power of self through harsh laws actually arouses and strengthens sin. Christians must not let life become a set of rules, but rather a response to a loving relationship with Jesus Christ.
MIND MANAGEMENT :
‘Above all else, guard your heart.’ Proverbs 4:23 NIV
We hear a lot these days about time management, financial management and weight management—but what about mind management? Shouldn’t we be more concerned about managing our minds than managing anything else? Jesus was. He guarded the gateway of His heart by refusing to concede in three areas:
(1) The agenda of people who wanted to use Him for their own purposes. ‘Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make Him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by Himself.’ (John 6:15 NIV) Most of us would delight in the idea of becoming ‘king’. Even if we refused the crown, we’d enjoy considering the invitation! Not Jesus.
(2) The naïveté of those who wanted to spare Him.When Jesus announced His death on the cross to the disciples, Peter objected. And when he failed to see the necessity of the cross, Jesus issued one of His harshest rebukes: ‘Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.’ (Matthew 16:23 NIV)
(3) The scorn of those who didn’t know Him or believe in Him.Before raising a girl from the dead, Jesus said to the people in the house, ‘She is only sleeping.’ (Luke 8:52GNT) And what was their response? They laughed at Him. Like all of us, Jesus had to face scorn. But unlike most of us, He refused to accept it. Note His response: ‘He put them all outside.’ (Mark 5:40 RSV) Doubt, criticism and scorn weren’t allowed in the girl’s house—or in the mind of Christ. How about your mind?
PRACTICING GOD’S PRESENCE
Matthew 1:23 – “…and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
God has promised you His constant presence (Hebrews 13:5), but are you conscious of His presence every day? When you are conscious of His presence every day, you will experience a peace that gives you rest, joy inexpressible in your spirit and a power that nothing in this world can offer. In fact, you will begin to be peaceful and powerful like Jesus. You will speak and behave like Him. This is because you cannot be in God’s presence without His beauty, love, peace, power and glory rubbing off on you.
But how do you practice being conscious of God’s presence?
Start by seeing God with you in whatever you do and wherever you are. For example, at your board meeting, while deliberating on issues, see the Lord there in the boardroom with you, guiding you in your thinking. And you can be sure that His presence will bring clarity of thought and wisdom to you. You will find yourself flowing with great and sound ideas.
If you are going for an interview, see the Lord there in the interview room with you, putting answers in your mouth. Your nervousness will melt away as you see His favor on you bringing on smiles and approving nods from the interviewers.
Perhaps you are going for surgery. Well, see the Lord in the operating theatre with you, guiding the hands of the surgeons. Your worries will dissipate because nothing can go wrong in the Lord’s presence.
If you are in the middle of an argument, see the Lord standing within earshot. Your words will change and your body language will become more reconciliatory as you see Him right there with you extending His grace to you. There will be a restraint which is not borne of willpower, but which comes supernaturally when you know that the One who loves you and watches over you is with you.
Beloved, when you become conscious of God’s presence in your life, worries and fears will have no foothold in your mind. You will see Him maximizing your joy and fun, and prospering you in what you say and do!
Thought For The Day :
You practice God’s presence when you see Him with you in whatever you do and wherever you are.
CHANGE YOUR MIND
Repent (think differently; change your mind, regretting your sins and changing your conduct), for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. – Matthew 3:2 AMP
Do you have behaviors in your life that you want to change? Maybe it’s a habit, a bad attitude, or even negative thoughts. No matter what you may want to change in your life, you have to start by changing your mind. You have to change your thinking so that your thoughts are in line with God’s thoughts. When you make the decision to follow God in every area of your life, you open the door for His supernatural power to work.
Remember, your life will go in the direction of your thoughts. You can’t just allow any old thought or image to play in your mind. You have to choose right thoughts. The easiest way to change your thoughts is by speaking God’s Word. When you say “orange,” you probably won’t start thinking about an apple. In the same way, when you confess the Word of God, which says you are more than a conqueror, it will drive those negative, defeating thoughts away! Change your mind today by changing your words!
You have every right to live free from any curse, because Jesus took your place of a cursed life at the cross, and gave you the blessed life He deserves. It’s time to break free and live a victorious and abundant life!
‘All of you together are the temple.’ 1 Corinthians 3:16 NLT
A little boy was playing outside when a neighbour asked him where his brother was. ‘In the house,’ he replied. ‘We were playing a duet on the piano—but I finished first!’ Thatwasn’t what God intended when He called us to work together! It’s not a competition. In Bible days Roman soldiers’ shields were designed so they could literally be hooked together. Each man fought for his entire line. Paul lists the people he was hooked to; he called them his ‘fellow workers.’ (Romans 16:3 NKJV) Speaking to the church, he wrote, ‘All of you together are the temple of God…Everything belongs to you, and you belong to Christ.’ (1 Corinthians 3:16–23 NLT) Notice:
(1) Only together do we have everything we need.
(2) It’s about whom we belong to, not what belongs to us. Experts say we need to hear something at least seven times before it registers. And this is particularly true when it comes to acknowledging our character defects or flaws in our plans. Dr John Maxwell writes: ‘After a period of frustration, I humbled myself and asked for advice. They told me things I didn’t want to hear. But I needed to learn to listen. And I learned to pay attention to things that struck a sensitive chord within me; it was often a signal that it was something I needed to improve. The things that upset me most, or that I resisted most, were usually what I needed to work on most. And if I gave myself time to reflect on what I was told and seek improvement, I usually improved dramatically.’ Don’t be defensive; learn from the people you’re hooked to!
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