START FROM HERE!
Lord, what do You want me to do? —Acts 9:6
On June 6, 1944, three American officers huddled in a bombshell crater on Utah Beach in Normandy, France. Realizing the tide had carried them to the wrong place on the beach, the trio made an impromptu decision: “We’ll start the battle from right here.” They needed to move forward from a difficult starting point.
Saul found himself in a difficult place, needing to make a decision after meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-20). Suddenly, the location and direction of his life was revealed to him as a mistake, his prior life perhaps even feeling like a waste. Moving forward would be difficult and would require hard and uncomfortable work, perhaps even facing the Christian families whose lives he had torn apart. But he responded, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” (v. 6).
We often find ourselves in unexpected places, places we never planned nor wanted to be. We may be drowning in debt, inhibited by physical barriers, or suffering under the weight of sin’s consequences. Whether Christ finds us this day in a prison cell or a palace, whether He finds us broken and broke or absorbed by our own selfish desires, Scripture tells us to heed Paul’s advice to forget what lies behind and to press forward toward Christ (Phil. 3:13-14). The past is no barrier to moving forward with Him.
Are you paralyzed by your past? Have you drifted away from Christ? Or perhaps never even met Him? Today is the day to begin anew with Christ, even if you’ve tried and failed before.
It’s not too late for a fresh start.
Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. – Matthew 18:10-11
We have angels assigned to us. Hebrews 1:14 further reveals that their purpose is to minister to us (i.e. on our behalf). In the Old Testament, Psalm 91 teaches on the ministry of angels to God’s people.
Some have realized this truth and have taken it even further to say that we are supposed to speak to our angels and they will obey our commands. There is no instruction in scripture to do this nor is there any example of it being done. Many of the angels’ protective duties described in Psalm 91 are preventative, and we certainly could not effectively command these activities.
Rather, these angels are dispatched exactly as this verse describes – by looking at the Father’s face. God Almighty controls them for us; however, we do have a part to play. In Psalm 91 it is those who dwell in the secret place of the Most High, that are able to benefit from angelic activity (v. 1). Verse 2 further instructs us to say that the Lord is our refuge and fortress and that we are trusting in Him.
It is the combination of our faith in God and His faithfulness to us that releases the angels on our behalf. If it was solely up to God, His provision would be the same for everyone because of His mercy and grace. However, we have to receive God’s grace by faith (Eph. 2:8). As you seek the Lord, become aware of His ministering spirits which were created to minister for us, and speak forth your faith in this area, He will send forth His angels on your behalf.
GUARD YOUR MOUTH …
He who guards his mouth keeps his life, but he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin. – Proverbs 13:3, AMP
We’ve all said things we wish we could take back. Scripture says that when we guard our mouth, we keep our life. That’s because our words determine the direction of our lives, and wrong words can get us off course very quickly.
The Bible tells us that life and death are in the power of the tongue. There’s no neutral ground. We are either sowing seeds of life and productivity with our words, or we are sowing seeds of ruin and destruction with our words.
Today is a good day to take inventory of your words and make the decision to sow only good seeds. Sow seeds of life by speaking God’s Word over yourself and those around you. Make the decision today that your words will bring glory to the Lord as you guard your mouth and keep your life!
THE DREAMS OF YOUR FUTURE HAVE NO ROOM FOR THE DEVASTATIONS OF YOUR PAST …
When Aaron, the brother of Moses, died, the entire house of Israel mourned for him thirty days (Numbers 20:29). However, after those thirty days, the time of mourning was over, and the Israelites had to move on with life.
There is a great lesson in this: you must push beyond the past in order to enter the future — a future filled with great things God has planned for you. The Apostle Paul knew this, which is why he wrote, One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14).
You may have great dreams for your future, but if you fill your future with junk from your past, then you’ll never fulfill your dreams. Therefore, like the Israelites, after a certain period of time, you must decide to forget what is behind and press on toward the things that are ahead
VERY PROBLEM IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO TRUST GOD …
We all experience difficulties, problems, and trials throughout life. Usually, we also look for ways to solve those problems. All of the various solutions basically ask one of these two questions: “What can I do to solve this?” Or, “What can God do to solve this?”
In other words, we either try to solve the problem on our own, or we let God solve it. Obviously, it is much wiser to give your problems to God.
Therefore, in the midst of your problem, Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). Trust God to solve your problems. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal (Isaiah 26:4).
During your trials you should frequently quote Psalm 91:2: I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Furthermore, when you’re truly trusting in God, there is nothing to worry about. Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me” (John 14:1).
Make this your cry: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God”(Psalm 20:7).
Trust the Lord God Almighty in every area of your life, even during problems, because every problem gives you an opportunity to trust God.
JESUS IS STILL JEHOVAH RAPHA
Exodus 15:26 – …I am the Lord who heals you.”
Do you know that the first compound name that the Lord revealed to the Israelites after they came out of Egypt was Jehovah Rapha, the Lord who heals you? It was as if He was telling them, as they began their new life with Him, that He had already healed them of all the diseases and pains they suffered when they were in bondage in Egypt. Indeed, when He brought them out of Egypt, “there was none feeble among His tribes”. (Psalm 105:37)
Today, just as the Israelites were delivered from their bondage in Egypt and from slavery to Pharaoh, you have also been delivered from the bondage of sin and sickness, and from slavery to the devil, by the blood of the Lamb. And the Lord, who is the same yesterday, today and forever, still says to you, “I am the Lord who heals you.”
A church member, who was experiencing pain in her womb for several months, looked to Jesus as her healer even as she went to see a doctor, who performed an ultrasound scan on her womb. When told that she had two big tumors and several blood cysts in her womb, she continued to look to Jesus as her healer. The doctor then had her blood tested to see if the tumors were cancerous.
Three days later, she saw the doctor again and was told that the tumors were not cancerous. Not only that, but a second ultrasound scan also showed that all the cysts and one of the tumors had completely disappeared! The other tumor had also shrunk. Although she had taken medication, the doctor told her that based on the original size of the tumor, it should have taken months to shrink that much. He commented that this was the quickest healing he had ever seen!
Beloved, if the doctor has given you a bad report regarding your health, don’t despair. Look to Jesus and expect healing for your body. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is still Jehovah Rapha—the Lord who heals you!
WHAT KEEPS US FROM SERVING OTHERS? (4)
…through love serve one another.’ Galatians 5:13 NKJV
Control is the fourth thing that deters us from serving. While it’s important to focus on understanding others, we must also be authentic and open so they can understand us. Because it can make us feel vulnerable, many of us are unwilling to be transparent. Former U.S. Navy Captain Mike Abrashoff observes: ‘Some leaders feel that by keeping people in the dark, they maintain a measure of control. But that is a leader’s folly and an organisation’s failure. Secrecy spawns isolation, not success. Knowledge is power, yes, but what leaders need is collective power, and that requires collective knowledge. I found that the more people knew what the goals were, the better buy–in I got—and the better the results we achieved together.’ Any time people sense information is being withheld from them, it creates distance. They feel like outsiders, and, as a result, morale drops along with their performance. In Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way, Jim Lundy writes about what he calls the ‘Subordinates’ Lament’: ‘We, the uninformed, working for the inaccessible, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful!’ Ever feel like that? Then there’s the ‘Mushroom Farm Lament’ which goes like this: ‘We feel we’re being kept in the dark. Every once in a while someone comes around and spreads manure on us. But when our heads pop up, they’re chopped off and then we’re canned.’ Good leaders don’t isolate themselves, and they don’t deliberately keep people in the dark. They inform them, and include them in the decision–making process whenever possible. If you’re serious about serving others, open up. Let people know who you are and what you believe.
WHAT WE DO
One thing I do . . . I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. — Philippians 3:13-14
When Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic Roger Ebert died, a fellow journalist wrote of him: “With all his notoriety, honors, and celebrity, all his exclusive interviews and star-dusted encounters with movie greats, Ebert never forgot the essence of what we do—review movies. And he reviewed them with an infectious zeal and probing intellect” (Dennis King, The Oklahoman).
The apostle Paul never forgot the essence of what God wanted him to be and do. Focus and enthusiasm were at the heart of his relationship with Christ. Whether he was reasoning with philosophers in Athens, experiencing shipwreck in the Mediterranean, or being chained to a Roman soldier in prison, he focused on his calling to know “Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings” and to teach about Him (Phil.3:10).
While he was in prison, Paul wrote, “I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (3:13-14). Whatever his circumstances, Paul continually pressed forward in his calling as a disciple of Christ.
May we always remember the essence, the heart, of who we are called to be and what we are called to do as followers of Jesus.
Father, may I be willing to do what I can with all that I have, wherever I am.
Paul was in earnest over one thing only, and that was his relationship to Jesus Christ. – Oswald Chambers
HUMILITY BEFORE HONOR …
John 3:30, “He must increase, but I [must] decrease.”
John the Baptist had spent 30 years in preparation for his ministry. He didn’t enjoy the normal benefits of childhood or adolescence. He lived out in the deserts separated unto God instead (Lk. 1:80).
For approximately six months, he enjoyed success in his ministry like no other man ever had. He started preaching in the wilderness–not the centers of commerce. Still the multitudes flocked to him. He became the most influential man in Israel and even shot the hearts of Roman rulers. Everything was going John’s way.
Then he baptized Jesus and proclaimed Him as the long-awaited Messiah (Mt. 3:13-17; Jn. 1:29). From that time on, the multitudes who once followed John began to follow Jesus in ever increasing numbers (Jn. 3:26). His own disciples left him to follow Jesus (Jn. 1:36-37). This would have destroyed most men.
Yet when he was questioned about this very thing, John replied, “He must increase but I must decrease.” Surely this is one of the characteristics that made John the Baptist the greatest of all Old Testament prophets (Mt. 11:11). Jesus later revealed that “he that is greatest among you shall be your servant” (Mt. 23:11). John is one of the greatest examples of humility in the Bible. “Before honor is humility” (Pro. 18:12).
People criticize the prosperity gospel message either don’t understand it or don’t know the Bible. Here are just a few scriptures
9 Keep therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that ye may prosper in all that ye do. (KJV) Deuteronomy 29:9
Psalm 122:6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.
3 John verse 2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth