NEGATIVES BECOME POSITIVES
I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee. – Luke 15:18-19
This is a good example of true repentance. This son did not claim any goodness of his own or try to justify his actions, but he humbled himself and appealed to the mercy of his father. Likewise, we cannot approach God in self-righteousness, but we have to humble ourselves, put all of our faith in a Savior, and turn from our wicked ways (2 Chr. 7:14). That is true repentance.
Repentance is a necessary part of salvation. Repentance may include godly sorrow, but sorrow does not always include repentance. Repentance is simply a change of mind accompanied by corresponding actions.
There is a godly type of sorrow and an ungodly type of sorrow. Godly sorrow leads to repentance. Ungodly sorrow, or the sorrow of this world, just kills.
Our culture has rejected all “negative” emotions. But God gave us the capacity for these negative emotions and there is a proper use of them.
People should feel bad about sin. There should be sorrow over our failures. However, this sorrow should lead to repentance, then when forgiveness is received, our sorrow should be cast upon the Lord (Isa. 53:4).
The sorrow experienced by those who do not turn to God produces only death.
They grieve over their situation because they don’t turn to God (that’s repentance). Christians should only have sorrow until they repent. Once repentance has come, we need to appropriate the forgiveness and cleansing that are already ours through Christ (1 Jn. 1:9). The positive change that our sorrows led us to, changes our attitude towards the things that caused us sorrow. Negatives become positives through Jesus.
FORGET NOT HIS BENEFITS
Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” – Psalm 103:2, NIV
God has given us many benefits today! He’s given us so much to be thankful for. When you meditate on His goodness, faithfulness and blessings in your life, it will change how you see the world. When you focus on the fact that He saved you and set you free, the challenges and obstacles in your life will begin to fade away. Psalm 103 goes on to say that He “crowns you with love and compassion and satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed.”
No matter what you may be facing today, forget not His benefits! God wants to satisfy you with good things. If you need healing today, healing is a benefit. If you’ve made mistakes in your life, forgiveness is a benefit. If you feel tired and overwhelmed, strength is a benefit. As you turn your thoughts toward the Father today, He will fill you with His peace and strengthen you to live as an overcomer in every area of your life.
FROM GUESSWORK TO GUIDANCE
‘I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go…’ Psalm 32:8 NIV
You can know God’s will for your life. He promises, ‘I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go.’ (Psalm 32:8 NIV) His Word says, ‘In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.’ (Proverbs 3:6 NKJV) God wants you to move from guesswork to guidance, but getting there requires four things:
(1) Knowing that God’s will begins with surrendering your will. Jesus said, ‘I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.’ (John 5:30NAS) You only recognise God’s will as you learn to lay aside your own will, and that gets easier with practice.
(2) Keeping a spiritual mindset. It’s not possible to sense God’s will while you’re controlled by self–interest. ‘The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.’ (Romans 8:7 NIV)
(3) Praying for God’s guidance. David prayed, ‘Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; may Your good Spirit lead me…’ (Psalm 143:10 NIV) James also en-courages us: ‘If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.’ (James 1:5 NLT)
(4) Reading God’s Word with a heart that’s open to hear from Him. ‘Your word is a lamp that gives light wherever I walk.’ (Psalm 119:105 CEV) Daily exposure to the Word of God will help you recognise His voice when He speaks to you. ‘…the sheep follow Him: for they know His voice.’ (John 10:4 NKJV
THE POWER OF THE BODY AND BLOOD
1 Corinthians 11:26 – For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.
Some time ago, one of our church members developed deep vein thrombosis (DVT) while on a flight to Israel. As she was disembarking from the plane, she collapsed. She was rushed to the hospital. But on the way there, her heart stopped beating. Apparently, the blood clot in her leg had gone to her heart, causing it to stop beating. The doctors managed to revive her heart after a few attempts, but she remained unconscious.
When I arrived at the hospital with some of my church leaders a few days later, I was told that her condition had worsened. She was in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). My leaders and I decided to partake of the Holy Communion in the ICU, proclaiming that Jesus had borne all her diseases, including DVT, and that His blood had already redeemed her from all curses, including diseases and death.
The next day, she regained consciousness! Her recovery was so supernatural that after a week of observation, she was discharged and was soon touring Israel with the next tour group that arrived there.
In another case, a church member’s elderly mother underwent a series of operations and her condition deteriorated to the point where the doctor told the family to prepare for the worst. The family took Holy Communion in the ICU. They even put a small crumb in their mother’s mouth and poured a little grape juice in. On the third day, something miraculous happened—their mother regained consciousness, got well and was discharged not too long after!
You see, each time you eat the bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death for you. You discern that the Lord’s body was broken so that your body can be whole. You discern that His healthy body has borne your diseases and pains, so that your body can be well. So when you eat the bread, you say that by His stripes you are healed. And when you drink the cup, you are drinking the life of Jesus which is in His blood.
Beloved, the life of Jesus is pain-free, disease-free and poverty-free. It attracts the favor and blessings of God. And because you have that life in you, it causes good things to happen to you!
Search me, O God, . . . and see if there is any wicked way in me. —Psalm 139:23-24
It’s that time of year when I go to the doctor for my annual physical. Even though I feel well and I’m not experiencing any health problems, I know that routine checkups are important because they can uncover hidden problems that if left undiscovered can grow to be serious health issues. I know that giving permission to my doctor to find and remedy the hidden problems can lead to long-term health.
Clearly the psalmist felt that way spiritually. Pleading for God to search for hidden sin, he prayed, “Search me, O God, . . . and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Ps. 139:23-24). Pausing to give God the opportunity for a full and unconditional inspection, he then surrendered to the righteous ways of God that would keep him spiritually healthy.
So, even if you are feeling good about yourself, it is time for a checkup! Only God knows the true condition of our heart, and only He can forgive, heal, and lead us to a cleansed life and productive future.
Lord, You know me better than I know myself. Search the deepest parts of my heart for anything that is displeasing to You. Cleanse me of my wandering ways and lead me in Your good and righteous way.
God’s work in us isn’t over when we receive salvation—it has just begun.
HE LIFTS YOU UP …
I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair…He set my feet on solid ground…He has given me a new song to sing…” – Psalm 40:1–3, NLT
Have you ever felt like you were in a pit of despair? Just like God lifted David out, God is going to lift you out. Where you are right now is not where you’re going to stay. There are brighter days up ahead for you filled with favor, promotion and increase. As you walk uprightly before Him, no good thing will He withhold from you.
Notice that God gives us a new song, but we have to do our part to sing that song. That means you don’t go around talking about your problems, how bad things are, or how you’re never going to make it. No, you have a song of victory! If somebody asks you how you’re doing, your attitude should be, “I’m too blessed to be stressed! I’m moving forward in strength and power.” Remember, praise precedes the victory, and the Bible tells us that God is enthroned on our praises. As you magnify and lift Him up, He will lift you up out of your despair. He’ll set your feet on solid ground, and you’ll move forward in joy and victory in every area of your life.