KNOW WHAT TO FIGHT FOR …
I press on…to win the prize… – Philippians 3:14 NIV
The poorest person in the world isn’t the one without money, but the one without a God–given vision. Vision requires faith—and focus.
Unless you understand what’s worth fighting for, you risk:
(1) Fighting the wrong battles.
(2) Fighting at the wrong time.
(3) Fighting when you shouldn’t be involved.
(4) Fighting because you need to win in order to feel good about yourself.
(5) Fighting even though the battle is already lost but your pride won’t let you accept it.
The most important thing is: stay focused on the goal God has given you. If Satan can’t defeat you outright, he’ll try to distract you with unimportant things, or disqualify you by getting you to make bad decisions. Either way, he wins and you lose. Just because something is good doesn’t mean it’s right for you. When your plate is full doing what God’s already given you to do, learn to say ‘no’ to everything else. Once you can do that, you free yourself from other people’s expectations and the need for their approval. Bear in mind also that ‘no’ doesn’t mean ‘never’; often it means ‘not now’. When you’re spread too thinly, you become mediocre at everything and effective at nothing. When you try to fight on every front, you wear yourself out and fail to win where it counts. Fighting a battle without gaining ground is like pouring buckets of water on a burning shack—unless somebody’s life is in danger it’s probably not worth it. So conserve your energy for when you have something really important at stake.
RECEIVE AS YOU HEAR THE GOOD NEWS
Romans 1:16 – For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes…
If you have been to motivational seminars, you would probably have heard the speakers say, “If you follow these five steps, then you will come to a place of financial increase.” They would probably have told you also that if you don’t succeed, it is because you did not follow the steps correctly or diligently.
Thank God that the gospel or good news does not work like that! The minute you hear or read the good news, and you believe and receive it, His Word goes forth to sozo (the Greek word for “save”) you, making you whole in every way, “for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes”.
What is the good news? It is that God loves us so much that He gave us His Son to take our beating so that we can have His blessings without having to work for them. Right now, as you are reading this devotional, listening to a preacher or watching a sermon DVD, as you hear God’s Word, His power is released into your situation, working things out for you and turning your situation around for your good.
In Acts 14:8–10, we see Paul preaching the good news in Lystra. A man who was crippled from birth was listening to Paul. Paul, seeing that he had faith to be healed, said, “Stand up straight on your feet!” And the man leaped and walked! He heard the good news, believed it and was healed.
At a leadership conference in Oslo, Norway, where I was speaking, a pastor there shared how a well-respected businessman in his church was healed while listening to one of my sermon CDs. This man was deaf in one ear. And when he was listening to my teaching on the CD, his deaf ear popped open without anyone laying hands on him or praying for him! He was just listening to the good news when his ear opened. Now, that is what I call the power of God unto his salvation, sozo-ing him, making his hearing whole!
My friend, these miracles happen not because we follow some kind of formula faithfully, but because we hear the good news preached and simply believe it!
A CONSISTENT LIFE
He knelt down on his knees . . . and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days. —Daniel 6:10
While studying the book of Daniel, I was struck by how easily he could have avoided being thrown into the den of lions. Daniel’s jealous rivals in the government of Babylon laid a trap based on his consistent practice of daily prayer to God (Dan. 6:1-9). Daniel was fully aware of their plot and could have decided to pray privately for a month until things settled down. But that was not the kind of person he was.
“When Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days” (v.10). Daniel did not panic, nor bargain with God. Instead, he continued “just as he had done before” (v.10 niv). He was not intimidated by the pressure of persecution.
The lesson for me was the power of Daniel’s life of consistent devotion to the Lord. His strength came from God, whom Daniel wanted to please every day. When a crisis came, Daniel didn’t need to change his daily practice to meet it. He simply stayed committed to his God.
Father, I want to stand for You when persecution comes as Daniel did. Give me that same bold commitment to pray and not to be ashamed of knowing You. Help me to live my faith publicly.
God empowers us to stand for Him as we bow to pray.
THE BEST DEFENSE
Matthew 5:39, “But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.”
Which would you rather have – God defending you, or you defending yourself? That’s the choice that Jesus is offering us here. “Turning the other cheek” is not a prescription for abuse but rather the way to get the Lord involved in your defense.
Many people feel that these instructions of Jesus guarantee that others will take advantage of us. That would be true if there was no God. But when we follow these commands of Jesus, the Lord is on our side. He said in Rom. 12:19, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but [rather] give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance [is] mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”
When we fight back, we are drawing on our own strength. But when we turn the other cheek, we are invoking God as our defense. Once we understand this, it becomes obvious that these instructions are for our own good.
James 1:20, says that the wrath of man does not accomplish the righteousness of God. Regardless of how appropriate our anger may seem, and regardless of how we think our wrath could make a person or situation change, we will never achieve God’s best that way.
When we defend ourselves, we stop God from defending us. It has to be one way or the other. It cannot be both ways. When we turn the other cheek to our enemies, we are loosing the power of God on our behalf. Let God defend you today.
GOD IS AT WORK WITHIN YOU (2)
‘…God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.’ Philippians 2:13 NLT
The Bible says: ‘…It is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energising and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure…satisfaction and delight.’ (Philippians 2:13AMP) We have a tendency to allow 101 different things to crowd God out of our lives, so He creates within us the desire to do His will. When you desire to read your Bible, it’s God urging you to do it. When you desire to pray, it’s God moving you to do it. When you desire to give, it’s God motivating you to do it. Jesus said: ‘…I am the Vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing…If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!’ (John 15:5–7 NLT) Note the word ‘dwell’; it means to live in and take up residence. So as you live in close relationship with Christ, the desires conceived within you are desires He can fulfil. When you sense that God has put certain desires in your heart, it’s important to pray and ask for those things. If you’re not sure whether or not they’re from Him, pray: ‘Lord, I have desires in my heart that may be from you. If they are, please fulfill them, but if not I can be happy without them, because I am happy with You. Lord, I trust you.’ Always measure your desires by God’s Word so you continue abiding in the Vine. Have you reached that place in your relationship with God yet?
Be constant in Prayer:
The power of prayer should not be underestimated (James 5:16- 18) . Pray without ceasing. Prayer is communicating with God. Even though we can’t see Him with our eyes, He is with us all the time. We need to turn our spiritual eyes towards Him in order to feel His divine presence. He wants us to talk with Him just like we would talk with our friends. He wants us to ask for His opinion. He wants us to tell Him when we are happy. He wants us to tell Him when we are sad.
When we read the verses in the book of Exodus chapter 17, verses from 8 to 13, we can see that the people of Israel fought against the Amalekites. Moses went to the top of the hill with the staff of God and held up his both hands towards heaven. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. Then Aaron and Hur took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. One on the one side and the other on the other side held up his hands. His hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And with this, the people of Israel defeated Amalekites.
What was the reason for the victory of Israelites? It was by the continuous prayer of Moses. In Romans 12.12, the Bible says “Be constant in prayer.” Pray to God without ceasing, He will mould your life and help you to lead a victorious life.
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