BEYOND ALL EXPECTATIONS
When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him. And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. MATTHEW 8:1–3
When the Lord blesses you, He blesses you beyond what you expect. In the healing of the leper, Jesus reached out and touched the leper, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately, the man was healed.
Did you notice that Jesus touched the leper first before He healed him? I love these little gestures of Jesus! That simple touch restored a sense of humanity and dignity to the man who had not been touched for a long time. Because of his unclean and physically repulsive condition, no one wanted to be close to him, much less touch him.
Jesus knew that the leper needed more than just physical healing, so He gave above and beyond what the leper had hoped for. Beloved, that’s the love and over-supplying grace of your Savior! What is your lack today? As you meditate on the largeness of His grace toward you, know beyond any doubt that Jesus’ provision will exceed all your expectations!
SERVANT POWER …
Mark 4:41, “And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
When God created this physical world and all of its inhabitants, He gave mankind authority to rule and subdue His creation. Although God still owned the universe and all that was in it, He gave control of the earth to man.
When man sinned, he began to use this power against God’s wishes. God did not ordain all the terrible things that have happened throughout history, and yet He did not take back man’s right to dominate the earth. Instead, He became a man and took back that authority to Himself by conquest. After Jesus’ resurrection, He said in Matthew 28:18, “…All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth,” and then He gave the great commission to His disciples, thereby conferring that authority upon them, also. Jesus becoming flesh was absolutely essential for gaining all power (or authority) in heaven and in earth. Jesus was a “God-man.” As stated in 1 Timothy 3:16, He was God manifested in the flesh, which is a great mystery.
Jesus came in the power and authority of His Father to point men to the Father God. Jesus existed before His advent on this earth in the form of God and was equal with God; yet, He humbled Himself and became a servant while here on earth. He did not come to promote Himself but to give Himself as the way unto the Father.
This is radically different from the way so called “great men” present themselves. The Roman Caesar of Jesus’ day proclaimed that he was God and demanded worship. Lesser leaders ruled by exalting themselves over the people they governed. But, Jesus showed us that “whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mt. 20:26-28)
“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest”. – Joshua 1:9 (KJV)
God offers us the strength to meet our challenges, and He offers us hope for the future. One way He communicates His message of hope is through the words of encouraging friends and family members.
Hope is something that must be nurtured if it is to grow. If we associate with hope-filled, positive people, their enthusiasm will have a tendency to buoy our spirits as well. But if we find ourselves spending too much time in the company of naysayers and cynics, our thoughts like theirs will tend toward pessimism.
Are you a hopeful, optimistic person who believes God has good plans for you? You can be assured that He does. Do you associate with those who understand God’s loving nature? If so, you know just where to find encouragement, in your heavenly Father and with your spiritual brothers and sisters.
CHOOSE THE GOOD PART AND BE BLESSED
Isaiah 48:17 – …“I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you by the way you should go.
God instructs us for our own benefit. He wants us to profit in every area of our lives—health, finances, career, marriage and family relationships. The Bible says that it is God who teaches us to profit. And it is He who leads us in the way that we should go.
God always has our best interests at heart. We only have to sit at His feet, listen to His Word and just have fresh, daily communion with Him, and He will make our way fruitful.
But we are constantly bombarded with things to do every day, like sending the kids to school, attending a business meeting or making a sales presentation. Likewise, in church, there are just as many important things to attend to—ministering to the needy, reaching out to the lost and healing the sick. But you know what? All these things will be taken care of when we sit at Jesus’ feet and listen to His Word.
What was the Lord’s response to Martha’s complaint that her sister was sitting at His feet and listening to Him, instead of helping her with the many tasks? “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41–42)
Yet, many of us are like Martha. We worry about many things. And we are so busy that we have no time to sit at Jesus’ feet to listen to His Word and enjoy communion with Him. When we fail to draw from Him, we end up running on our own strength, and relying on our own flesh and wisdom to get things done. Listen, you can never have a plan that is better than God’s!
My friend, do you want to be led by God’s wisdom and timing in your decision-making? Then, make it a point to choose the good part like Mary did. Spend time with Jesus, open your Bible and say, “Lord, speak to me.” You will find that your heavenly Father takes care of your troubles, and teaches and leads you to profit!
BRIGHTER DAYS AHEAD
The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day. – Proverbs 4:18, NLT
Are you facing a situation that seems dim today? Maybe you can’t quite see what’s going to happen in the future. As a believer, God promises that your path will shine brighter and brighter as you seek Him. He promises that the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn shining brighter to the full day!
What does it mean to be righteous? Righteousness is simply being in “right standing” with God. Being in “right standing” with God is about surrendering your life to Him. It’s about obeying His commands and seeking His plan for your life on a daily basis.
No matter what you may be facing today, know that God has a bright future for you. He wants to show you His ways and lead you down a bright path! Seek Him in all things and trust that you have brighter days ahead!
PLACE IT IN HIS HANDS
And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted. So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.” Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten.JOHN 6:11–13
When Jesus saw the five loaves and two little fish, unlike His disciples, He didn’t see the naturally impossible demand placed on Him—to feed 5,000 men (not counting the women and children) with a boy’s small lunch. He saw the supernatural supply in His Father’s kingdom.
The result? Not only were the people fed till they were stuffed, there were also 12 baskets full of leftovers!
My friend, are you facing a situation of insufficiency today? Perhaps you can’t find enough time to get your work done, as well as spend quality time with your family. Why not put your time in Jesus’ hands and, as with the five loaves and two little fish, allow Him to multiply it? Jesus will give you the wisdom on how best to use your time.
Try it for yourself. Bring your little to Jesus. He will multiply whatever little you place in His hands with plenty left over!
JOINT HEIRS WITH CHRIST
Matthew 12:50, “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”
We are not just heirs, we are joint-heirs with Christ. It would be wonderful to inherit any amount of God’s glory and power. But, the idea that we share equally with the one who has inherited everything God is and has is beyond comprehension. This is an awesome blessing, but it also places a tremendous responsibility on us.
In the same way in which a check made out to two people cannot be cashed without the endorsement of both parties, so our joint-heirship with Jesus cannot be taken advantage of without our cooperation. Unaware of this, many Christians are just trusting that the Lord will produce the benefits of salvation for them. They are acutely aware that they can do nothing without Him, but don’t realize that He will do nothing without us (Eph. 3:20).
The idea that God will do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, PERIOD, is not true. He has power, but it is the use of His ability combined with the power that works in us. “No power working in us” means no power of God will come through us. The exceeding greatness of His power that is to us-ward who believe is power that is not external, but is internal, within the believer. It is working according to the faith that we exercise in the indwelling Savior. It was this principle that Paul was stating when he declared, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
The way we place our endorsement on the check is to believe what God promised in His Word and act on it as if it were true. IT IS! Jesus has already signed His name to every promise in the Word. We aren’t waiting for Him. He is waiting for us.
THE PERSON YOU WERE MADE TO BE
…We are…created…to do good works, which God prepared in advance… – Ephesians 2:10 NIV
God created you, and He knows what you were intended to be. He has ‘good works’ for you to do, but they’re not necessarily the kind of ‘to–do’ things we put on a list for our spouses or employees. They’re signposts to your true self. Your spiritual life isn’t limited to certain devotional activities. It is about being empowered by God to become the person He envisioned when He created you. But just as nobody becomes happy because their goal is to be happy, becoming the person God intended you to be won’t happen if your focus is always on yourself. Flourishing is tied to a nobler vision; it doesn’t happen by ‘looking out for number one’. People who flourish bring blessing to others, and they do it in unexpected and humble circumstances. Every once in a while you catch a glimpse of the person you were made to be. You say something inspirational. You express compassion. You forgive an old hurt. You give sacrificially. You refrain from saying something you’d normally blurt out. And as you do, you glimpse for a moment the reason God made you. Only He knows your full potential, and He’s always guiding you toward the best version of yourself. He uses many tools, He’s never in a hurry—and that can be frustrating. But even in our frustration He’s at work producing patience. He never gets discouraged by how long it takes, and He delights every time you grow. Only God knows what his intended transformation of you is, and He’s more committed to it than you are. (Philippians 1:6)