JOY IN HIS PRESENCE …
You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. – Psalm 16:11, NIV
God promises that joy is found in His presence, and if you’ve accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then His presence lives inside of you. That means you are full of joy! Joy manifests when you focus your mind and heart on the Father and begin to praise Him for what He’s done in your life. It doesn’t matter where you are or what’s going on around you, you can access the joy that’s inside of you at anytime, day or night.
Know this: God wants you to experience His supernatural joy and peace at all times. That’s why He chose to live inside of you and give you an endless supply. Don’t waste another minute feeling overburdened and discouraged. Let the joy of the Lord be your strength, and you will move forward in victory on the path of life He’s prepared for you!
DEALING WITH CHANGE (3)
…Tell the children of Israel to go forward. – Exodus 14:15 NKJV
With the Red Sea in front of them and Pharaoh’s chariots behind them, Moses told the Israelites: ‘Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians, whom you see today, you shall see again no more, forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace. And the Lord said to Moses…“Tell the children of Israel to go forward.”’ (Exodus 14:13–15 NKJV) Notice, God told the people of Israel two things. First, that He would fight for them. Second, that they must go forward in spite of their fear. When you face the unknown it’s normal to feel fear, but that’s when you need to put your trust and confidence in God! In order for Him to fulfil His promise to you, you must obey what He has told you to do. How should you deal with change?
In three ways:
(1) Focus on its long–term benefits instead of its short–term inconvenience.
(2) Be honest with yourself about what you really feel and fear about the change, and take it to God in prayer.
(3) Keep an open attitude toward new ideas, and refuse to be influenced by rigid thinkers.
Stand on this Scripture: ‘Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; do not spare; lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes. For you shall expand to the right and to the left…’ (Isaiah 54:2–3 NKJV) God doesn’t change, but He moves! In order to succeed, you must move with Him.
Now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel. —2 Kings 5:15
Two small boys were playing a complicated game with sticks and string. After a few minutes the older boy turned to his friend and said crossly, “You’re not doing it properly. This is my game, and we play it my way. You can’t play anymore!” The desire to have things our own way starts young!
Naaman was a person who was accustomed to having things his way. He was commander of the army of the king of Syria. But Naaman also had an incurable disease. One day his wife’s servant girl, who had been captured from the land of Israel, suggested that he seek healing from Elisha, the prophet of God. Naaman was desperate enough to do this, but he wanted the prophet to come to him. He expected to be treated with great ceremony and respect. So when Elisha simply sent a message that he should bathe seven times in the Jordan River, Naaman was furious! He refused (2 Kings 5:10-12). Only when he finally humbled himself and did it God’s way was he cured (vv. 13-14).
We’ve probably all had times when we’ve said “I’ll do it my way” to God. But His way is always the best way. So let’s ask God to give us humble hearts that willingly choose His way, not our own.
Father, forgive me for my pride and for so often thinking I know best. Give me a humble heart that is willing to follow Your way in everything.
Humility is to make a right estimate of one’s self. – Charles Spurgeon
Give Him control of your life and He will reveal to you the will of God, step by step. He knows how to bring you to maturity. All He requires of you is your attention and your obedience.
But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. – Luke 12:45-48
This verse is one of the clearest references in scripture about varying degrees of God’s judgment according to the knowledge of the person who committed the sin. The whole chapter of Leviticus 4 is written to deal with sins committed in ignorance. Jesus said in John 9:41, “If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.”
Also, Romans 5:13 says, “sin is not imputed when there is no law.”
Paul said, in 1 Timothy 1:13, that he obtained mercy because he had sinned “ignorantly in unbelief.” The sin he was speaking of was blasphemy, which Jesus taught was unforgivable if done against the Holy Ghost. Therefore, we see that ignorance in Paul’s case entitled him to a second chance. If he would have continued to blaspheme after he saw the truth, he would surely have paid the price. This is not to say that a person who doesn’t have a complete revelation of God’s will is innocent regardless of his actions.
Leviticus 5:17 makes it clear that an individual is still guilty even if he sins through ignorance. Romans 1:18-20 reveals that there is an intuitive knowledge of God within every person to the degree that they even understand the Godhead. This same chapter goes on to explain that people have rejected and changed this truth, but that God did give it and they are without excuse.
No one will be able to stand before God on judgment day and say, “God is not fair.” He has given every person who has ever lived, regardless of how remote or isolated they may have been, the opportunity to know Him.
NEW PLACES …
…you have not passed this way before. – Joshua 3:4, ESV
God desires to take you to new places in your life. He wants to take you to deeper places in your walk with Him, and He wants to take you into higher places of blessing in your life. Are you ready to go to places that you’ve never been before?
So many people today get stuck in a rut because they don’t want to get out of their comfort zone. They want to stay with what they know because it’s familiar.
But in order for you to reach your full potential, you have to be willing to step out into the unknown. You won’t ever walk on water until you step out of the boat! We all have areas where we can rise higher. Open your heart today and be ready to step out into the unknown. Trust that the Lord will guide and order your every step. Begin to expect that the unexpected is on the way. Be ready to step out into new places.
DEALING WITH CHANGE (2)
…Go to the land that I will show you. – Genesis 12:1 NLT
How would you feel if God told you to leave your job, sell your house and go to a city you didn’t know? That’s what happened to 75–year–old Abram and his 65–year–old wife, Sarai. ‘…Leave your native country…and go to the land that I will show you.’ Why would God do that? Because He has a special destiny in mind for each of us! He told Abram, ‘I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you…and you will be a blessing to others.’ (Genesis 12:2 NLT) With no hint of resistance, Abram embraced change, trusted God, and reaped the incredible rewards. It’s no wonder the Bible calls him the father of faith. To walk with God and fulfil His will you must have a mindset that adapts to change—sometimes costly and uncomfortable change. How do you do it? ‘By faith’! (Hebrews 11:8) Faith in whom? Yourself? Others? No. Faith in the goodness of God! Did you know that those who flow with change rather than resist it are less stressed, healthier, and generally happier? So start developing a ‘change mindset’. Break out of your rut and develop a new routine and if you’re serious about it, ask your friends and family to point out areas where you constantly demonstrate inflexibility. Where should you start? With this Scripture: ‘Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.’ (1 Peter 5:7 AMP) Live by the principle: ‘Where God guides, He provides.’
ALL TRUE THEOLOGY SHOULD LEAD TO DOXOLOGY …
God has a plan for creation. His ultimate intention is for every person to praise and worship him, giving him the honor and glory that he alone deserves.
The psalmist put it this way: May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you. May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the peoples justly and guide the nations of the earth. May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you (Psalm 67:3-5).
We study God’s word — that is, we have theology — so that we can learn more about him; that knowledge should then lead to praise of God — that is, doxology. The more we know about God, the more we are compelled to worship and praise him, awestruck at his greatness.
One of the reasons for missions — for spreading the Gospel — is so that verses like Psalm 117:1 will become a reality: Praise the LORD, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples. As we share theology (knowledge) of God, that should lead to doxology (praise) of God.
THE LOVE OF MONEY IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL
In Matthew 13:44-46, Jesus says, “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”
Jesus tells about two men, both of whom sold everything for the kingdom of heaven. To those men, God’s eternal kingdom was so valuable that they were willing to give up everything they had in order to invest in it.
That’s exactly the same attitude God wants us to have toward wealth. Money is an excellent servant but a terrible master. Unfortunately, many people in society are mastered by their money, unable to control their greed.
Yet God is more important than all these things in the world. He requires that we be willing to sell all for Him.
Mark 10:17-22 tells the story of a rich man’s encounter with Jesus: As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good — except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.'”
“Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.” Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
He owned great wealth, but really his wealth owned him. Remember that where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:21).
This man’s heart was so attached to his money that his money owned him. His attitude is very different than that of the two men, who sold everything for the kingdom of heaven.
If, like this man, you become so hungry to own more money, be aware that really your money will own you.