BLESSED

AALIFT YOUR EYES …
I will lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” – Psalm 121:1–2, ESV

What are you looking at today? Not in the natural, but with your spiritual eyes. Are you facing challenges? Don’t just look at your problems day in and day out. Lift up your eyes and look toward heaven.

In the natural, you will move in the direction that your eyes are looking. The same is true in the spiritual realm. If you are always looking at your problems — meditating on them, feeling sorry for yourself, telling everybody about them — you will become consumed by them. But when you look up, your life will start to move up.

When you keep your eyes on Jesus, it is a sign of your faith and expectancy. Faith is what gets God’s attention. When you have an attitude of faith and expectancy, you open the door for His power in your life. Today, lift up your eyes and your heart and rise up into the victorious life He has prepared for you!

Beloved, even in the darkest moments of your life, God is still supplying you His grace. He has not abandoned you and left you to your own devices. No, He is still there with you, caring for you, watching over you and working things out for your good.

So rest in God’s love for you and let Him sort things out for you. His mercies that begin afresh each morning (Lam 3:22–23, NLT) will see you through your darkest nights!

THANKFUL FOR THE KINGDOM …

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.” – Hebrews 12:28, NIV

Scripture says that we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken! The kingdom is simply God’s system. It’s His way of doing things. The Bible tells us that His kingdom is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. In God’s kingdom, when you give, it comes back to you pressed down, shaken together and running over. In God’s kingdom, you can have peace and prosperity in your spirit, soul and body no matter what’s happening around you. If the stock market goes down, God’s kingdom is still strong. If the housing market goes down, God’s kingdom is still strong. If gas prices go up, God’s kingdom is still strong.

Today, be thankful for God’s kingdom. Thank Him for His system of blessing that cannot be shaken. As you keep an attitude of gratitude and walk in His ways, you’ll experience His hand of blessing all the days of your life!

Through Jesus’ finished work you are seated with Him in heavenly places (see Eph 2:6), far above defeat, sickness and lack. Rest knowing that you are fighting from a secure position of victory, and not for victory

YOU CAN’T HAVE A TESTIMONY WITHOUT A TEST …

A testimony is often a way of sharing what God has done in a person’s life. However, in order to have a testimony there almost always was a test through which that person had to persevere.

It is, therefore, understandable that we are told to rejoice during trials — not because of the trials themselves, but because of the end result of the trials. In James 1:2-4, we are told, Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. In other words, we can have joy during trials, because we know that they help make us mature and complete — they refine us into the person God wants us to be.

A few verses later (in James 1:12), we are told the reward of enduring difficult times: Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

The challenging events that we go through are what refine us and make us more like Christ. Indeed, 1 Peter 1:6-7 says that one of the purposes of going through grief and trials is so that our faith can grow and be proven genuine.

Therefore, a real testimony of growing in faith and becoming like Christ requires going through a test. So,instead of despising your tests and trials, look forward to your testimony; after all, you can’t have a testimony without a test.

GOD LOVES YOU NOT BECAUSE OF WHAT YOU DO, BUT BECAUSE OF WHO HE IS …

God is love (1 John 4:8). God doesn’t have to pretend to love you; He can’t not love you, because He is love.

In fact, the very actions of God exemplify what love is. The apostle John explains that this is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us (1 John 3:16). Only a few verses later, he further defines love: This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4:9).

Notice that God’s love for you is independent of how you behave, who you are, or how you respond to that love.

Romans 5:6-8 reminds us that God loves us regardless of where we are: You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Jesus represents God’s love for us in what we now call the Parable of the Prodigal Son (see Luke 15:11-24). In that allegory, the father openly and lovingly receives his son even though the son had run away, squandered all of his money, and insulted the father. In the same way, God loves us unconditionally.

There is nothing you can do to get God to love you — He already does. There is nothing you can do to deserve God’s love, because, by sinning, you have turned your back on God and are fundamentally no different than the prodigal son. That parable is a clear reminder that God loves you not because of what you do, but because of who He is.

ABOUT HUMILITY

John 6:15, “When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.”

Jesus “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15). The temptation for Jesus to submit to the crowd and exalt Himself must have been there but He didn’t respond to it. He came to do the Father’s will and not His own will (Jn. 6:38). He immediately withdrew from everyone and spent all night in prayer with His Father. Prolonged prayer is an antidote for the temptation of pride and will work a God-type of humility in your life.

In Galatians 2:20, Paul is preaching a death to self, but it is very important to notice how this death took place. Paul said he was dead through what Jesus did. He experienced this death by simply reckoning what had already happened through Christ to be so (Rom. 6:11).

There are people today who have taken the “dying to self” doctrine to an extreme and, instead of being free of self, they are totally self-centered. They constantly think of self. It may be in all negative terms, but it is still self-centered. A truly humble person is one who is Christ-centered. Dying to self is not a hatred for self but rather a love of Christ more than self.

There are false religions that preach a denial of self. We need to be not just dead to self, but alive to God. A focus on the denial of self without the enthronement of Christ leads to legalism. True humility is not a debasing of self, or a hatred of self, or our accomplishments. It is simply an awareness that all that we have and are is a gift of God. Therefore, only a person who acknowledges God can operate in true humility.

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