THE SUBSTANCE

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NOW FAITH …

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen – Hebrews 11:1, KJV

What are you hoping for in your life today? The Bible says that faith gives substance to the things you hope for. Notice this verse starts by saying, “Now faith…” It isn’t “later” faith or “one day” faith. We have to believe that God is working behind the scenes right now. Faith is simply believing that God is a good and faithful God—that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Can you believe that God wants to move in your life, today? Do you believe He can provide for you need, today? Do you believe He can heal your relationships, today? Do you believe He can give you that promotion, today?

Whatever you are hoping for, open your heart and expect that God is working on your behalf. Stand strong and declare that victory is already yours!

Today, in order to accomplish your dreams, overcome that obstacle, break that addiction, receive that promotion, start declaring it. That’s what gives fuel to your faith.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly” (Matthew 11:28-30, MSG).

When we rely on our own efforts and try to handle our own problems, we struggle and toil and we often fail. God asks us to trust Him enough to turn over all our burdens, hurts, and issues to Him, and let Him take care of them. Obeying the Word instead of religious practices gives us rest in Him

YOU CAN BREAK THE CYCLE (1)

…Who sinned, this man or his parents…?’ John 9:2 NKJV

‘His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his par-ents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.”’ (John 9:2–3 NKJV). When someone is trapped in a self–destructive habit, we sometimes say it’s genetic: ‘It runs in the family.’ Yet psychiatrists tell us 90% of those who abuse others were first abused themselves; they are simply ‘acting out’ what was done to them. Some say if alcoholism and addiction run in your family, you’ve got an ‘addictive gene’, meaning you’re at much greater risk if you pick up a drink or a drug. But you’ll notice Jesus didn’t get into the whole ‘nurture vs nature’ debate. In essence, He said, ‘This is just an opportunity for God to demonstrate His love and grace by setting this man free.’ So your problem may be too big for you, but it’s not too big for God. It’s actually a platform for Him to demonstrate His grace in your life. ‘Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!’ (2 Corinthians 5:17 AMP) God doesn’t consult your past in order to determine your future. Before you met Jesus, you were spiritually dead. That’s why He said, ‘…you must be born from above…’ (John 3:3 CEV) From that point forward, the past no longer has any power over you (except the power you give it). So you can break the cycle.

EXPERIENCE JESUS’ ROBUST PEACE

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.   PHILIPPIANS 4:6–7

Peace is not the absence of trouble in your life. It is possible to be in the midst of the biggest crisis in your life and still experience peace. That’s the true kind of peace that Jesus gives—peace that surpasses all understanding. Naturally speaking, it does not make sense for you to feel completely at rest and at peace in the middle of a clearly stressful situation, but supernaturally, you can be filled with His peace!

The world defines peace based on what is happening in the sensory realm. Its notion of peace would look something like this: A man lying in a hammock on a white sandy beach with waves rolling languidly along the shoreline. It calls that peace—until reality kicks in!

Beloved, you cannot use your external surroundings to permanently influence the turmoil that you are feeling inside. Only Jesus can touch what you are feeling inside and turn that turmoil into His peace. It’s not the other way round. With Jesus, transformation is always from inside out and not outside in. So when you turn your cares into prayers and seek His presence and favor, He puts a peace and rest in your heart that is robust and secure. You will find yourself able to face any challenge without worry or stress, regardless of your circumstances and environment!

THE BLOOD ALONE SAVES …

Exodus 12:13 – Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you…

On the night of the first Passover, many of the children of Israel were probably anxious. Imagine one Israelite asking another nervously, “Did you hear that the angel of death is passing through tonight?”

“Yes! We were told to put the blood of the lamb on the doorposts of our home and everything would be all right. Is that true?”

Like the Israelites, you might be wondering, “Can the blood really protect me? How much blood do I have to put on my doorposts? Will the angel of death get me if I am fearful?”

My friend, don’t add to God’s conditions. He said, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you.” He did not say, “When I see the blood, plus your understanding, efforts, obedience, faithfulness and refusal to give in to fear, then I will pass over you.”

It is the blood of Jesus alone that delivers you. If you think that it is because of your faith, then you will always be wondering, “Do I have enough faith?” No my friend, it is His blood alone that saves. And when God sees that you see that it is the blood alone that saves, He calls that faith in the blood, and every plague will pass over you!

God wants you to know that it is Jesus’ blood alone that saves because every time you think that your deliverance depends partly on God and partly on you, you will not have a settled peace in your heart. But when you know that it is the blood alone that saves, you will have an unshakable peace.

It was the blood that saved the children of Israel from the destroyer on that Passover night and it is still the blood that saves today. And all you need to do for the blood to avail is to say, “Father, I thank You that the blood of Jesus alone covers me and my family. No evil, plague or disaster will befall me or my family because of the blood!”

DECIDING TO DO IT GOD”S WAY

“Teach me thy way, O Lord; I will walk in thy truth; unite my heart to fear thy name”. – Psalm 86:11 (KJV)

Each of us faces thousands of small choices each day, choices that make up the fabric of daily life. When we align those choices with the instructions in God’s Word, and when we align our lives with God’s will, we’ll receive His peace, His joy, and His comfort. But when we struggle against God’s will for our lives, when we insist on doing things our way and not God’s way,we’ll reap a less bountiful harvest.

Today you’ll face thousands of small decisions; as you do, use God’s Word as your guide. And while you’re at it, pay careful attention to the still, small voice of God whispering in your heart. In matters great and small, seek the will of God and trust Him. He will never lead you astray. In the center of a hurricane there is absolute quiet and peace. There is no safer place then in the center of the will of God.

WHAT IS THAT TO YOU?

Jesus said to him, “. . . You follow Me.” —John 21:22

Social media is useful for many things, but contentment is not one of them. At least not for me. Even when my goals are good, I can become discouraged by continual reminders that others are accomplishing them first or with greater results. I am prone to this kind of discouragement, so I frequently remind myself that God has not short-changed me. He has already given me everything I need to accomplish the work He wants me to do.

This means I don’t need a bigger budget or the assurance of success. I don’t need a better work environment or a different job. I don’t need the approval or permission of others. I don’t need good health or more time. God may give me some of those things, but everything I need I already have, for when He assigns work He provides the resources. My only assignment is to use whatever time and talents He has given in a way that blesses others and gives God the glory.

Jesus and Peter had a conversation that got around to this subject. After making breakfast on the shore of Galilee, Jesus told Peter what would happen at the end of his life. Pointing at another disciple, Peter asked, “What about him?” Jesus responded, “What is that to you?”

That is the question I need to ask myself when I compare myself to others. The answer is, “None of my business.” My business is to follow Jesus and be faithful with the gifts and opportunities He gives to me.

Resentment comes from looking at others; contentment comes from looking at God.

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