KEEP ASKING …
For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. – Matthew 7:8, NIV
Is there something you are believing God for? Does it seem like it’s taking a long time to come to pass? Be encouraged today because the Bible says that through faith and patience, you will inherit God’s promises. So don’t give up! Keep thanking God for His faithfulness in your life. Trust that His Word is true. Keep praying and keep an attitude of faith and expectancy. Keep asking. Keep seeking. Keep knocking on the door, and it will be opened to you. It may seem like it’s taking a long time, but know this: God is working behind the scenes on your behalf. He is orchestrating things in your favor. His timing is always perfect! As you stay faithful in your prayers and thanksgiving, the Lord will move mightily on your behalf. He’ll take you places that you’ve never dreamed!
REST AND FIND GOD’S GRACE
Luke 2:40 – And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.
The verse says that the grace of God was upon Jesus. The Bible also says that where sin abounds, grace abounds much more. (Romans 5:20) And when you put the two together, you may find yourself asking, “If the grace of God was upon Jesus, does it mean that He sinned?”
No, Jesus did not sin. (2 Corinthians 5:21) So there must be another explanation as to why God’s grace was upon Jesus. There must be another explanation as to why someone can abound in God’s grace even when he has not sinned.
Let’s look at the word “grace” when it is first mentioned in the Bible. Genesis 6:8 says that “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord”. Noah’s name means “rest”. So the verse is telling us that rest found grace. In other words, when you rest, you find grace!
So grace was upon Jesus because His life was a life of rest and trust in His Father. He said, “The Son can do nothing of Himself. He can do only what He sees His Father doing.” (John 5:19)
Likewise, grace comes upon you when you rest and trust God. If you have a wayward child, stop nagging at him and trust God to handle the problem. Say, “Jesus, I commit this boy into Your hands. I cannot control him. You can.” If you have a persistent pain in your body, bring it to the Lord. Say, “Jesus, I hand all my worries about this pain to You. You work on the pain.”
“Pastor, what if nothing happens?”
Honestly, if after you have given the matter to Jesus and nothing happens, what can you do? If Jesus Himself can’t do anything about it, do you think you can? But praise God, once the problem is handed over to Jesus, He can and will do a perfect work of taking care of it for you!
So live a life of rest. Have this attitude and tell the Lord, “I can do nothing of myself. I just rest in You Lord and I trust You.” Beloved, what you will see is the grace of God upon you in every situation of your life!
SHARING GOD’S LOVE
Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. – Luke 10:2
It is commonly thought that an evangelist is someone who has a passion to lead people to the Lord. But every believer should have a passion for souls. When presenting the Gospel, we are not just presenting a theory about God but the factual account of God’s dealings with man as revealed through His Word, with the ultimate witness being the bodily resurrection of Jesus. Our personal witness of the reality of Jesus being alive in our lives brings Christ from theory to reality
The early Christians had experienced the love of Christ in an intimate and life-transforming way. This motivated them to reach their known world with the Gospel of Christ more than any generation of Christians has done since. They didn’t have the benefits of our modern technology, but they did have the benefit of being full of the love of Christ. Experiencing the love of Christ causes us to be filled with the fullness of God (Eph. 3:19) and makes us a witness that the world cannot resist (John 13:35).
Today, much of the emphasis of the church is placed on techniques of evangelism or spiritual warfare. We motivate people to witness through feelings of guilt or punishment if they don’t. Much of our evangelism has become as dead and non-productive as that of the cults who knock on doors and argue people into their way of thinking. The early Christians had a much greater impact on their world because they were full of, and motivated by, the love of God. The church today needs a revival of our personal relationship with the Lord. When we can say with Paul that the love of Christ constrains us, then we will impact our world for the Lord too. You can’t give away what you don’t possess. We need to personally know the love of Christ in an experiential way before we try to share it with others.
YOUR BLIND SPOT (1)
…Cleanse me from these hidden faults. – Psalm 19:12 NLT
There are parts of yourself you’ll never see without God’s help. In one sense, you know yourself better than anyone else does. You alone have access to your inner thoughts, feelings and judgments. In another sense, you know yourself worse than anyone else does. Why? Because we rationalise, justify, minimise, forget, and embellish—and we don’t even know we’re doing it. We all fall for the self–serving bias. We claim too much credit and accept too little blame. We pay attention to experts who agree with our opinions, while ignoring or discounting all evidence to the contrary. Our memories are not simply faulty, they’re faulty in favour of our ego. The book Egonomics cites a survey in which 83 per cent of people were confident in their ability to make good decisions, but only 27 per cent were confident in the ability of the people they worked closely with to make good decisions. We’re stunned when someone sees past our defences into our souls. It’s not that they’re geniuses, it’s just that we’re sitting in our own blind spot and without the work of the Holy Spirit within us, much of the time we can’t even see our sin. The psalmist wrote: ‘How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. Keep Your servant from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.’ (Psalm19:12–14 NLT) That’s a prayer you should pray—every day.
SHARING WORDS OF HOPE
Hebrews 10:24-25 (KJV) “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching”.
Are you a hopeful, optimistic, encouraging person? And do you associate with like minded people?
Hope, like other human emotions, is contagious. When we associate with hope-filled friends, we are encouraged by their faith and optimism. But if we spend to much time in the company of naysayers and pessimists, our attitudes, like theirs, will tend toward the cynical and negative.
As a child of God, you have every reason to be hopeful, and you have every reason to share your hope with others. So today, look for reasons to celebrate. And while you’re at it, look for people who will join you in the celebration of God’s blessings. As you share hope, you’ll build hope. We urgently need people who encourage and inspire us to move toward God..
CHRIST THE REDEEMER
I know that my Redeemer lives. — Job 19:25
The famous statue Christ the Redeemer overlooks the city of Rio de Janeiro. The statue is a model of Christ with His arms extended so that His body forms the shape of a cross. Brazilian architect Heitor da Silva Costa designed the figure. He imagined that the city’s residents would see it as the first image to emerge from the darkness at dawn. At dusk, he hoped the city dwellers would view the setting sun as a halo behind the statue’s head.
There is value in keeping our eyes on our Redeemer each day, during the good times and the difficult times. As he suffered, Job said, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth” (Job 19:25).
The cry of Job’s heart points us to Jesus—our living Savior who will visit the earth again one day (1 Thess. 4:16-18). Keeping our eyes on Jesus means remembering that we have been rescued from our sin. Jesus “gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people” (Titus 2:14).
Anyone who has accepted Jesus as Savior has a reason to be glad today. No matter what we endure on earth, we can have hope today and look forward to enjoying eternity with Him.
Dear Jesus, You are my rescuer. Because You died and rose again, I am free from the consequences of my sin forever. Thank You for redeeming my life.
Through His cross and resurrection, Jesus rescues and redeems.
THE COST OF LIVING FOR CHRIST
And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. – Matthew 8:18-22; Luke 9:51-62
This verse has often been used to support the misconception that Jesus and His disciples lived in poverty. However, in this instance, the fact that Jesus had nowhere to lay His head was because of persecution. The Samaritans, because of a religious prejudice, had just refused Him hospitality and a place to stay as He journeyed to Jerusalem. Persecution is part of the cost of living a Christian life. Jesus was communicating to this man that not having a place to stay at times was part of that cost.
There are many forms of persecution. Having your life threatened because of your faith in Jesus is one way you can be persecuted, but it is not the most damaging. History shows that the Church has always flourished under persecution with increased numbers and zeal. During intense, life-threatening persecution, people’s priorities get straightened out and the Lord assumes His rightful place. This always works for our good, regardless of what our outward circumstances might be.
A far more deadly form of persecution is men simply speaking evil of you or separating you from their company. It’s more deadly because it’s more subtle.
Many who would never directly deny the Lord will fall into self-pity or strife because of someone’s criticism. This will render one just as ineffective as a negative reaction to having one’s life threatened would.
It helps to recognize that it is not you that they are persecuting, but rather Christ in you. You are actually becoming a partaker of His sufferings and will share His rewards. With this in mind, we can actually shout and leap for joy in persecution!
IT’S ONLY TEMPORARY …
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. – 2 Corinthians 4:17, NIV
Your troubles and trials in this life are only temporary. In fact, today’s verse tells us they are momentary. Compared with eternity, our troubles don’t last long at all. As you stand strong in faith during times of adversity, Scripture says that you are achieving eternal glory. When you confess your trust and reliance on God, you are passing the test.
If you are in the middle of tough times today, look to Jesus! The Bible says that He is the Author and Finisher of your faith. He is the one who deposits faith in your heart and then tends to it until it is fully developed. Your part is to keep your heart open and choose words of faith and victory.
Remember, your words set the course for your life. Confess your faith in the Father. Set your mind on Him. Look for His hand moving in your life. Focus on that eternal glory because your troubles here are only temporary!