BE COURAGEOUS

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LET GOD LOVE YOU INSTEAD

1 John 4:10 – In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

“You have to love God more! You must have more passion for God!” You have probably heard this type of preaching and may have even tried your best to love God, only to fail miserably.

But what is the true definition of love? Let the Bible define it for us: “…this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us…” Yes, it is not about our love for Him, but His love for us!

Pastor, the Bible says that you must love God with all your heart, soul and strength!”
Yes, that is true according to the law (Deuteronomy 6:5), and even Jesus taught that as the great commandment when He walked on earth. (Matthew 22:37) But that was before He died on the cross. At the cross, He became the very fulfillment of this law for us when He loved us with all His heart, soul and strength, by laying down His body and life on the cross for us.

Today, we are no longer under the law but under grace. And grace tells us that God loves us, not that we love God. Yet, we will love Him when we see how much He loves us. The Bible says that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us! (Romans 5:8) That’s how much He loves us!

Beloved, God has seen you trying your best to love Him. And because He loves you, He wants you to sit down and be still, and let Him love you instead. He wants to love you with all that He is and all that He has. He loves you unconditionally regardless of who you are or what you have done because His love is not dependent on you but on Himself. He will never stop loving you.

So let God love you today. Don’t worry about loving Him. The more of His love you receive, the more you will fall in love with Him!

Thought For The Day

God loves you with all that He is and all that He has.

A GIFT OF HOPE

He shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines. —Judges 13:5

When a powerful typhoon swept through the city of Tacloban, Philippines, in 2013, an estimated 10,000 people died, and many who survived found themselves homeless and jobless. Necessities became scarce. Three months later, while the town was still struggling to dig itself out from the destruction, a baby was born on a roadside near Tacloban amid torrents of rain and strong wind. Although the weather brought back painful memories, residents worked together to find a midwife and transport the mother and newborn to a clinic. The baby survived, thrived, and became a symbol of hope during a time of despair.

Forty years of Philistine oppression marked a grim period in Israel’s national history. During this time, an angel informed an Israelite woman that she would give birth to a special son (Judg. 13:3). According to the angel, the baby would be a Nazirite—a man set apart to God—and would “begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines” (v.5). The infant, Samson, was a gift of hope born in a troubled time.

Trouble is unavoidable, yet Jesus has the power to rescue us from despair. Christ was born “to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet in the way of peace” (Luke 1:76-79).

Lord, help me to see beyond my circumstances and put my hope in You. All authority and power are Yours. Remind me of Your goodness, and let me rest in Your love.

Jesus is the hope that calms life’s storms.

“Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him” (Luke 8:39).

When Jesus healed the man and cast out his demons, He told him to spread the word about what had happened to him. Likewise, when God touches our lives as only He can, we’ll know it was Him who made those miraculous changes. We have a responsibility to tell others what He has done for us.

PRAISE NO MATTER WHAT …

I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. – Philippians 1:12, ESV

We can learn so much from the apostle Paul. He was deliriously happy and joyful because of what Christ had done in his life. Even when he was chained and shackled in a dark prison because of his faith, Paul praised God and counted it a privilege to deliver the message of the gospel. He had His eyes focused on the prize of eternity! He didn’t let a bad day throw him off course. He didn’t get depressed when people didn’t like him. No, He stood confident in Christ knowing that praise prepares the way for victory!

One thing we know is that you can’t defeat a person who is always happy and praising God. If you are in a battle today, if you need a miracle in your circumstances, follow Paul’s example and open your mouth and begin to praise to Him! Develop an attitude of faith and expectancy. Keep your eyes focused on eternity because when you praise God no matter what, you’ll be victorious no matter what and embrace the good things He has for your future!

REST IN HIS LOVE

John 5:16, “And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him because he had done these things on the sabbath day.”

The Sabbath was first mentioned in Scripture in Exodus 16, when the Lord started miraculously providing the children of Israel with manna in the wilderness. The Israelites were commanded to gather twice as much manna on the sixth day because God would not provide any on the seventh day. Shortly after this, the Lord commanded the observance of the Sabbath day in the ten commandments that were communicated to Moses on Mt. Sinai on the two tablets of stone (Ex. 20:8-11). In this command, God connected this Sabbath day with the rest that He took on the seventh day of creation.

As revealed in Colossians 2:16-17, the Sabbath was symbolic. According to Exodus 23:12, one of the purposes of the Sabbath was to give man and his animals one day of physical rest each week. Today’s medical science has proven that our bodies need at least one day of rest each week to function at our peak. Deuteronomy 5:15, also clearly states that the Sabbath was to serve as a reminder to the Jews that they had been slaves in Egypt and were delivered from bondage, not by their own efforts, but by the supernatural power of God. However, in the New Testament, there is an even clearer purpose of the Sabbath stated. In Colossians 2:16-17, Paul reveals that the Sabbath was only a shadow of things to come and is now fulfilled in Christ. Hebrews 4:1-11, talks about a Sabbath rest that is available to, but not necessarily functional in, all New Testament believers. This New Testament Sabbath rest is simply a relationship with God in which we have ceased from doing things by our own efforts and are letting God work through us
(Gal. 2:20; Heb. 4:10).

The Sabbath is not a day, but rather a relationship with God through Jesus. Rest in His love and let Him use you today.

 PEACE WITH GOD THROUGH JESUS

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. ROMANS 5:1

The greatest blessing anyone can have is peace with God through Jesus Christ. Jesus took upon Himself all our sins at the cross. He absorbed all of God’s fiery indignation and judgment against all our sins, past, present and future, so that we can be totally forgiven and have peace with God.

So today, there is nothing between you and God. There is no more sin, no more shame and no more condemnation! Jesus’ sacrifice has given you everlasting peace with God. God is not angry with you. He never will be. He is on your side and for you all the way.

Now, what will you do today knowing that God is for you and that His assuring presence will never leave you? What will you do today knowing that all His favor, wisdom, heavenly provision and blessings are backing you up?

LIVING YOUR FULLEST LIFE

My purpose is to give life in all its fullness. – John 10:10 TLB

Living your fullest life requires three things:

(1) A good mentor. Paul writes: ‘Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine.’ (Philippians 3:17NLT) Good mentors lead by example; they know that in order to be followed they must first be respected. They carefully tailor their instructions by understanding your strengths and weaknesses—knowing whether you are right–brained creative/intuitive or left–brained analytical. They know whether you learn visually or verbally. They know when you need a pat on the back or a kick in the seat of the pants. If you have such a mentor you’re blessed. If you don’t, ask God for one.

(2) Your best effort. Andrew Carnegie said, ‘There’s no use whatsoever trying to help people who don’t help themselves. You cannot push anyone up a ladder unless he is willing to climb himself.’

(3) A little extra. This is the ‘extra mile’ principle Jesus taught (See Matthew 5:41). It involves:
(a) Extra effort.
(b) Extra time.

‘Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come.’ (Habakkuk 2:3 NIV) Gutzon Borglum, the sculptor who created the memorial to the American Presidents at Mount Rushmore, was asked if he considered his work to be perfect. He supposedly replied, ‘Not today. The nose of President Washington is an inch too long. It’s better that way, though. It will erode and be exactly right in 10,000 years.

LIVING IN AN ANXIOUS WORLD

Philippians 4:6 (KJV) Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

We live in a world that often breeds anxiety and fear. When we come face to face with though times, it’s easy to fall into discouragement, doubt, or depression. But our Father in heaven has promised that we may lead lives of assurance, not anxiety. In fact, His Word instructs us to “be anxious for nothing.” But how can we put our fears to rest? By taking those fears to God and leaving them there.

As you face the challenges of daily life, don’t become anxious, troubled, discouraged, or fearful. Instead, turn every one of your concerns over to your heavenly Father. The same God who created the universe will comfort you if you ask Him, So ask Him and trust Him. And then watch in amazement as your anxieties melt into the warmth and comfort of His loving embrace.

HAVE A BLESSED & PEACEFUL FRIDAY & GOD BLESS YOU…

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