MARKED BY HIS NAME
The disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. —Acts 11:26
In July 1860, the world’s first nursing school opened at St. Thomas Hospital in London. Today that school is part of the King’s College, where nursing students are called Nightingales. The school—like modern nursing itself—was established by Florence Nightingale, who revolutionized nursing during the Crimean War. When prospective nurses complete their training, they take the “Nightingale Pledge,” a reflection of her ongoing impact on nursing.
Many people, like Florence Nightingale, have had a significant impact on our world. But no one has had a greater effect than Jesus, whose birth, death, and resurrection have been transforming lives for 2,000 years.
Around the world, Christ’s name marks those who are His followers, going back to the earliest days of the church. “When [Barnabas] had found [Saul], he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch” (Acts 11:26).
Those who bear Christ’s name identify with Him because we have been changed by His love and grace. We declare to the world that He has made an eternal difference in our lives and we long for that in the hearts of others too.
Father, give me the grace and wisdom to honor You. May my life be so marked by the person of Christ that His great name—and salvation—will be embraced by others as well.
Followers of Christ—Christians—are marked by His name.
PETITION NOT REPETITION :
Mark 8:24-25, “And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking. After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.”
It was unusual for Jesus to inquire about the results of His ministry as He did in verse 23. It was even more unusual that Jesus laid hands on this man a second time. This is the only example in the New Testament where Jesus had to minister to any need more than once to affect a total healing.
Many people request things from God and then look at their circumstances to see if God answered their prayer. That is walking by sight and not by faith. If they can’t “see” God’s answer, then they pray again asking for the same thing. This is not the way Jesus taught us to pray and receive. We can be certain that Jesus didn’t lay hands on this man a second time because He thought His Father hadn’t heard Him the first the time. Since the man received partial sight, it is evident that God’s healing power was at work in him. Jesus was not petitioning His Father again for healing.
Through His spirit, Jesus knew that unbelief was hindering a perfect manifestation of God’s power in this man, and He simply gave him another “dose” of the anointing power of God. Satan may hinder, but cannot overcome someone who continues resisting him. Believe that you received when you prayed and continue to apply the power of God. Press in such a degree that you can confront anything that is contrary to what you have asked and overcome it. Perseverance in prayer is the key to overcoming Satan – not God
HE IS THE HEALER …
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. – Psalm 147:3, NIV
It doesn’t matter what is “broken” in your life today, God’s nature is to bring you complete healing. Do you need healing in your body? Your mind? Heart? Finances? Relationships? God is your healer. Notice what the Psalmist says in this verse: He binds up their wounds. In the natural, if you have a broken arm, it doesn’t just heal overnight. The doctor makes a cast to hold it in place and protect it. He binds up your wound. In the spiritual realm, God does the same thing. He wraps Himself around your brokenness and protects the wounded area until it is strong enough to function properly again. The Bible also says that He is a restorer. That means that when He does a work of healing in our lives, He makes us better than we were before.
If you’re going through the healing process today, know this: it may take longer than you planned, but God is binding up your wound. He is protecting you and healing you. He will bring you out better and stronger than you were before. He will take you to a place of complete healing so that you can live the life of victory He has in store for you.
GETTING FILLED WITH ALL THE FULLNESS OF GOD
Ephesians 3:19 – … to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
We would all like to experience more health, abundance and success in our lives. God, being God, has all of these things, won’t you agree? So to be full of God is to be full of health, abundance and success. But how does one become full of God?
In the past, I was told that to be “filled with all the fullness of God”, I had to fast a certain number of days, pray a certain number of hours and speak in tongues incessantly! I am not belittling fasting, praying or speaking in tongues, but to be filled with all the fullness of God is not about what you do. It is not even about your love for Christ. It is actually about knowing the love of Christ! No one ever told me that if I knew how much God loves me and focused on His love for me, I would be full of Him.
When God made you, He designed you to run at optimal level when you are filled with His love, like a car that runs at its best when it is filled with the right kind of petrol or gasoline. When you realize how much God loves you and you feed on His love for you, you will be supernaturally filled with the fullness of God.
And to be full of God is to be full of everything God is to you and has for you. To be full of God is to come to a place of life, health, peace, abundance—total wellness.
Also, when you are conscious of how much God loves you and you become filled with the fullness of God, what follows is the next verse—God doing exceedingly abundantly above all that you can ask or think, according to the power that works in you. (Ephesians 3:20) You will experience the tremendous blessings of God exploding in your life! You will become a blessing magnet!
So as God’s beloved, continue to be nourished by His love for you, and experience more health, abundance and success in your life!
Thought For The Day :
Being filled with the fullness of God is not about what you do, but about knowing how much God loves you.
LIFE OF GOD …
John 10:10 “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
The Greek word translated “life” here is “zoe” and it means life in the absolute sense or life as God has it. Everyone who is breathing has life in the sense of physical existence, but only those who receive Jesus can experience life as God intended it to be. Jesus came to not only save us from the torment of eternal hell, but also to give us this “zoe” or God-kind of life in abundance. The life of God is not awaiting us in heaven, but is presently possessed by every born-again person in his spirit. We can release this “zoe” life and enjoy it now by losing our natural life and finding this supernatural life. The way we lose our life is to deny any thoughts, emotions, or actions that are contrary to the Word of God, which is life (“zoe” in Jn. 6:63). When we line our thoughts, emotions, and actions up with the instructions of God’s Word, then we will find this “zoe” life manifest in our bodies and souls as well.
The Word is spiritual and must be understood through the spirit (1 Cor. 2:14). The Bible is simply a physical representation of Jesus and spiritual truth. It is inspired of God and therefore, totally accurate and reliable, and yet, until we receive the spirit that these words express, the Bible will not profit us (Heb. 4:2).
If we want to know what spiritual truth is, we must believe the Bible, for it is spirit and life. If we want to be led by the Spirit, then we must follow God’s Word. If we want to hear from the Spirit of God, then we must listen to what God says in His Word. The Spirit (Holy Spirit) and the Word (Jesus – Jn. 1:1) are one (1 Jn. 5:7).
BUILDING TRUST AND INTIMACY IN COMMUNICATION (1)
… say the right thing at the right time!’ Proverbs 15:23 NLT
According to ground–breaking neurological research, you can ‘train’ yourself to speak and listen in a way that stimulates sympathy and trust in the brain of the person you’re talking to. Think how valuable that is in communication!
Here are some proven principles to help you do it:
(1) Breathe deeply and stretch before speaking. When you’re handling a stressful situation, remaining calm is essential. Stress generates uptightness, uptightness leads to anger, and anger shuts down your ability to get your point across. So take a few moments to breathe deeply, while counting slowly to five. It’s also been established that things like stretching your neck muscles and yawning change your brain in ways that measurably improve your communication skills. We are ‘wonderfully made’. (Psalm 139:14 KJV)
(2) Think encouraging thoughts. ‘…As he thinks in his heart, so is he…’ (Proverbs 23:7 NKJV) Any negative thought you harbour can interfere with the parts of your brain used in language processing, listening, and speech, which can lead to defensiveness and distrust. Neurological studies found that thinking positive thoughts about the other person, or yourself, or the topic at hand, can help you to achieve success in your personal and business relationships.
(3) Seal it with a smile. Your face reveals your feelings. ‘…Jacob noticed that Laban’s attitude toward him was not what it had been.’ (Genesis 31:2 NIV) Research shows that pleasing memories and thoughts of people you love create facial expressions that convey kindness, compassion and interest, stimulating trust and openness in others.
BUILDING TRUST AND INTIMACY IN COMMUNICATION (2)
Pleasant words are…healing…’ Proverbs 16:24 NAS
For effective communication:
(1) Make use of the ‘eye–gate’. Eye contact stimulates the brain’s social–network circuits, decreasing the stress hormone and increasing the sympathy hormone. Intentionally looking at the other person enables you to quickly respond to the seven basic facial expressions—anger, fear, sadness, disgust, surprise, contempt and happiness. These are keys; use them.
(2) Express appreciation. The first words you speak set the tone for the entire interaction. A single compliment can create trust. Loyola University researchers found that when people in conversation are in basic agreement, interactions between them are experienced as mutually satisfying. Alternatively, disagreement immediately creates defensiveness in the listener. So begin each conversation with a compliment, and end it with a phrase that conveys genuine appreciation. Research demonstrates that remarks made at the end of an interaction are especially effective because they linger in the hearer’s mind. ‘Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul (emotions) and healing to the bones.’ (Proverbs 16:24 NAS)
(3) Keep it brief. Our conscious minds retain only a tiny bit of information, which is ‘booted out’ of our memory as new information is uploaded. So it’s better to speak a sentence or two at a time, then take a breath. ‘…let your words be few.’ (Ecclesiastes 5:2 NAS) If you think a lengthy conversation is needed, let your listener know in advance. This prepares them to focus, and ignore the intrusiveness of their own inner self–talk.
DURING DIFFICULT DAYS
Deuteronomy 4: 30-31 (KJV) When thou are in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shal be obedient unto his voice; (For the Lord thy God is a merciful God;) He will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.
Sometimes the traffic jams, and sometimes the dog gobbles the homework. But when we find ourselves mired in the minor frustrations of life, we must catch ourselves, take a deep breath, and lift our thoughts upward. Although we are here on earth struggling to rise above the distractions of the day, we need never struggle alone. God is here eternally and faithfully, with infinite patience and love, and if we reach out to Him, He will restore perspective and peace to our souls.
If you find yourself in difficult circumstances remember that God is merciful and faithful. If you become discouraged with the direction of your day, or your life, lift your thoughts and prayers to Him. He will comfort you and guide you through your difficulties and beyond them.
SYMPTOMS OF A HARD HEART …
Mark 8:17, “And when Jesus knew it, he saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened?”
Just a few days before this instance, hardened hearts caused Jesus’ disciples to be amazed when they saw Jesus walk on the water to them. Here, Jesus’ statements reveal some of the characteristics of someone with a hardened heart.
First, a hard heart keeps us from perceiving spiritual truths. This is why everyone in a church service hears exactly the same message yet, some will receive while others won’t. It’s not the Word that is the variable, but rather the condition of thehearts. A hard heart stops spiritual perception.
Second, a hardened heart stops us from understanding spiritual truth. When a person doesn’t understand God’s Word, Satan finds no resistance when he comes to steal it away.
Third, a hard heart keeps us from remembering. This isn’t to say that we can’t recall facts or scriptures. As related in Mark 8:19-20, the disciples remembered the facts of the two miraculous feedings, but they had forgotten any spiritual lessons they might have learned. Likewise, some people can quote scripture or remember what the sermon was about, but they can’t perceive the spiritual life in the message or retain what they did perceive.
A hardened heart blinds us to any spiritual perception and keeps us thinking only in the natural realm. Small faith and a hardened heart are the same. Hebrews 3:12-13 parallels an evil heart of unbelief to a hardened heart. It takes great faith to keep our heart sensitive to God. Seek Him with your whole heart today.
OVERFLOW WITH THANKFULNESS …
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. – Colossians 2:6–7, NIV
Are you overflowing with thankfulness? Is your thankfulness spilling out on to the people around you? Don’t just think your thanks, show it! Don’t let the kindness of others go unnoticed. Sometimes it’s easy to take for granted the people who are closest to us, but those are the people we should thank the most. Your family, your friends, the ones who love and support you are the ones who should feel your thankfulness the most.
And notice this verse says to live in Christ and be built up in Him. When you build yourself up by studying the Word and praying in the Spirit, then the second part of the verse will just come naturally — you will be strengthened in your faith, and your heart will be filled with thankfulness.
Take a step of faith today and begin to show your thankfulness to those around you. Let it overflow! Sow seeds of gratitude and blessing so you can reap an abundant harvest of blessing in return!
Remember all that God is & all that God has is available to believers who pray.