INCREASE

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THE MEASURE OF FAITH ….

And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. – Luke 17:1-10

There are many scriptures that speak of varying degrees of faith. However, the scriptures also speak of Jesus increasing in wisdom (Lk. 2:52) that certainly refers to His physical intellect drawing more and more on the perfect wisdom of God that was already in Him at birth. It is in this way that we also increase in faith.

At salvation, the believer is given the supernatural faith of God. We had to use the very faith of God (not human faith) to believe the gospel (Eph. 2:8).

That faith came to us through hearing the Word of God (Rom. 10:17), and once we are born again, it becomes an abiding fruit of the Spirit within us.

Every believer is given the same measure of faith at salvation but not all believers use what God has given them. Therefore, it is correct to speak of growing in faith and having great faith or little faith, but it is important to understand that this is speaking of how much faith we use or manifest – not how much faith we were given. All believers were given “the” same measure of faith.

Jesus’ example of the grain of mustard seed underscores the truth that our faith is sufficient if we will just use it without the hindrance of unbelief.

He then continues on into the parable of the servant serving his master to illustrate that our faith is not the problem but rather our use of it. We are using it to serve ourselves instead of our master who is God.

Living by faith is not something special that only the “super-saints” are supposed to do. The Lord expects all of His children to live a supernatural life of faith. He gave you everything you need to do this, just let Him live through you.

FAMILY PRIVILEGE

As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God. —John 1:12

When I was in primary school in Ghana, I had to live with a loving and caring family away from my parents. One day, all the children assembled for a special family meeting. The first part involved all of us sharing individual experiences. But next, when only “blood children” were required to be present, I was politely excluded. Then the stark reality hit me: I was not a “child of the house.” Despite their love for me, the family required that I should be excused because I was only living with them; I was not a legal part of their family.

This incident reminds me of John 1:11-12. The Son of God came to His own people and they rejected Him. Those who received Him then, and receive Him now, are given the right to become God’s children. When we are adopted into His family, “the Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Rom. 8:16).

Jesus doesn’t exclude anybody who is adopted by the Father. Rather, He welcomes us as a permanent part of His family. “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12).

Thank You, Father, for making it possible for me to be Your child. I’m grateful to be Yours and not to have to worry about whether You will remove me from Your family. I am Yours and You are mine.

Assurance of salvation is not in what you know but who you know

THE DOOR TO LOVE ….

Therefore I tell you, her sins, many [as they are], are forgiven her—because she has loved much. But he who is forgiven little loves little. – Luke 7:47, AMP

Did you know that forgiveness opens the door for love to operate in your life? Today’s verse is talking about the story of the woman with the alabaster box of costly perfume. She was a notorious sinner in her day, but when she encountered Jesus, her life changed. She fell at His feet in worship and began washing His feet with her tears and drying them with her hair. When she received Christ’s forgiveness, love was the automatic response. She was forgiven much, and her love was extravagant.

Do you want more love in your life? Do you want to feel more of God’s love and have stronger relationships with the people around you? Open your heart to forgiveness. Receive Christ’s forgiveness and extend it to others. When you are forgiven much, you will love much, and His love will empower you to rise higher in every area of life!

WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN SAYING?

Proverbs 18:21 – Death and life are in the power of the tongue…

Many things in life can cause us to fear—losing our jobs, deadly diseases, terrorist attacks and so on. When these things confront us, we tend to give in to worry and fear, and start talking about our fears.

Job was no different. He constantly feared that God would punish him and his family because he kept thinking that his sons had sinned against God. He would get up early in the morning to offer burnt sacrifices, saying, “It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” And the Bible tells us that he did this “regularly”. (Job 1:5)

So Job kept confessing the sins of his sons and fearing that something terrible would happen to him and his family. In fact, his sin-consciousness didn’t just produce fear, the Bible tells us that he “greatly feared”. (Job 3:25)

It is important that we understand that it was Job’s sin-consciousness that opened the door to Satan. His preoccupation with sins that his family may have committed gave Satan the opportunity to bring death and destruction into his life. God had a hedge of protection around Job. But when he started being sin-conscious and having a fearful expectation of judgment, the hedge was removed and Satan could attack him. (Job 1:9–12)

My friend, today, if you have sinned, don’t say, “I have failed again. I deserve to be punished by God.” Know that you already have forgiveness of sins because Jesus was punished and condemned in your place! (Ephesians 1:7) So say, “I am the righteousness of God in Christ. Jesus, You are my holiness and perfection.” (1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21)

We must be mindful of what we believe and say regularly because “death and life are in the power of the tongue”. So when you hear of a deadly virus taking many lives, don’t say, “I’m next because I have not been a good Christian!” Instead, say, “Jesus, You are my righteousness and protection. Surely You shall deliver me from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence!” (Psalm 91:3)

Beloved, such believing and confessing not only please God, but they also shut the door on Satan so that he cannot make any inroad into your life!

WHAT IS YOUR ROOT PROBLEM?

Judges 10:13 Yet you have forsaken Me and served other gods. Therefore I will deliver you no more.

Jeremiah 1:16 I will utter My judgments Against them concerning all their wickedness, Because they have forsaken Me, Burned incense to other gods, And worshiped the works of their own hands.

Jeremiah 2:13 ” For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns — broken cisterns that can hold no water.

The bible or God doesn’t hide things. They tell the truth about everything including your root problem of letting self be on the throne of your life instead of the Holy Spirit.  You are always looking to self for help and ideas instead of God and then wonder why you are a failure!

IT ALL BELONGS TO GOD (3)

The silver is Mine and the gold …declares the Lord…’ Haggai 2:8 NIV

How would you describe someone who built a house without giving any forethought to the foundation? Foolish! Likewise, God says, don’t put your trust in ‘uncertain riches’ (1 Timothy 6:17 NKJV). Between 1948 and 2001 the U.S. economy endured ten recessions, each averaging one year, and resulting in the loss of billions of dollars. That means every five years or so, the economy dumps its suitors and starts all over again. What word would you use to describe a husband who philandered his way through nine different wives over fifty years? Fickle? And how would you describe wife number ten? Foolish? Abraham was one of the richest men of his generation, and so was Job. The New Testament church had some rich people in it. The Bible says, ‘…all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them …brought the proceeds…and laid them at the apostles’ feet…’ (Acts 4:34–35 NKJV) God wants you to be blessed financially so you can bless His work. But the reason He doesn’t give some of us more money is because He knows we don’t have the maturity to handle it. It would be our undoing. And to those He does entrust with money, He says, ‘Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share.’ (1 Timothy 6:18 NKJV) You don’t really own anything; you’re just a steward. ‘“The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine,” declares the Lord.’ The truth is, you’ll never be financially secure until you’re willing to say, ‘Yes!’ to God in whatever He asks you to do, knowing that He will always take care of you. Always!

IT ALL BELONGS TO GOD (4)

‘To the Lord your God belong the heavens…the earth and everything in it.’ Deuteronomy 10:14 NIV

When it comes to our money, we like to think, ‘I earned it, so it’s mine.’ But that’s where you’re dead wrong! The Bible says: ‘To the Lord your God belong the heavens…the earth and everything in it.’ (Deuteronomy 10:14NIV) ‘Yours, O Lord, is the greatness…the power… the glory…the majesty and the splendour, for everything in Heaven and earth is Yours.’ (1 Chronicles 29:11 NIV) ‘“The silver…and the gold is Mine,” declares the Lord Almighty.’ (Haggai 2:8 NIV) Riches are like Monopoly money; if you’re better than your competition, you end up with the deeds to the most expensive properties. But guess what? At the end of the day when the game is over, the participants leave the table and all the stuff goes back in the box. And if you were overly aggressive, the other players may end up not liking you. Here’s a humbling Scripture: ‘Do not be overawed when others grow rich… for they will take nothing with them when they die… Though while they live they count themselves blessed—they will join those… who will never again see the light of life. People who have wealth but lack understanding are like the beasts that perish.’ (Psalm 49:16–20 NIV) The God who owns it all gives it to us for two reasons: (1) To enjoy. (2) To invest into fulfilling His purposes on earth. When we live with that attitude, we replace fear with faith in God.

CHESS MASTER

We, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. —2 Peter 3:13

In high school I took pride in my ability to play chess. I joined the chess club, and during lunch hour I could be found sitting at a table with other nerds, poring over books with titles like Classic King Pawn Openings. I studied techniques, won most of my matches, and put the game aside for 20 years. Then I met a truly fine chess player who had been perfecting his skills long since high school, and I learned what it is like to play against a master. Although I had complete freedom to make any move I wished, none of my strategies mattered very much. His superior skill guaranteed that my purposes inevitably ended up serving his own.

Perhaps there is a spiritual picture for us here. God grants us freedom to rebel against His original design, but even as we do so we end up serving His eventual goal of restoration (Rom. 8:21; 2 Peter 3:13; Rev. 21:1). This transformed the way I view both good and bad things. Good things—such as health, talent, and money—I can present to God as offerings to serve His purposes. And bad things—disability, poverty, family dysfunction, failure—can be “redeemed” as the very instruments that drive me to God.

With the Grand Master, victory is assured, no matter how the board of life may look at any given moment.

Father, I’m grateful that in all of life Your purposes are being accomplished. May I learn to have open hands—to accept whatever You give to me and whatever You take from me. Help me to trust Your heart.

When we can’t see God’s hand, we can trust His heart.

THE FAITH TO FORGIVE …

And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. – Luke 17:5

It is very interesting to note that the apostles asked Jesus to increase their faith after He spoke of forgiveness. They observed all of the wonderful miracles Jesus performed and yet that never inspired them to ask for greater faith. Truly, walking in love and forgiveness with each other takes as much faith as any miracle we will ever believe for.

The basis of forgiveness is the love and mercy of God. It is only because God first loved and forgave us that we can love and forgive others. If we aren’t walking in the forgiveness of God, we won’t minister it to others. He forgave us before we repented or asked for forgiveness.

The scriptures admonish us to forgive as Christ has forgiven us. God offered His forgiveness towards us while we were yet sinners. Therefore, forgiveness was offered to all unconditionally. But only those who receive the offered forgiveness through repentance and faith are received as sons of God.

Likewise, we are to forgive others their trespasses, just as God has forgiven us our trespasses. We forgive whether or not the other person repents or wants our forgiveness. But we cannot restore such a person to complete relationship until there is repentance on his part. Failure to distinguish between forgiveness and restoration with their different conditions, has caused some people to make themselves vulnerable to unscrupulous people and suffer tragic results. In marriage, we should forgive our mate for anything, even adultery. But If there is no true repentance on our mate’s part, it would be foolish to trust him or her in a sexually tempting situation. We should forgive a business partner for stealing from us whether or not he repents, but that doesn’t meanwe ought to put ourselves in a position to let him do it again. Complete restoration is dependent on repentance. Walk in forgiveness today.

GOD IS EASY TO TAKE FROM …

Exodus 3:8 – So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land…

When the children of Israel provided for themselves in Egypt, they ate cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. (Numbers 11:5) These were types of food which required them to bend down close to the ground and pull out to eat—a backbreaking work.

But when God provided for them in Canaan, a land flowing with milk and honey (Numbers 13:27), He gave them grapes, pomegranates and figs. (Numbers 13:23) These fruits were not found on the ground and the Israelites only had to pluck them to eat them.

God wants you to know that when He provides for you, you will see a flow of provisions coming your way, and all you need to do is to just stretch forth your hand and take from Him!

So if you are planning to get married, don’t say to yourself, “Well, if I work harder and start saving now, I will have…oh my goodness, not much! The cost of the wedding banquet will wipe out everything! How can I get married?”

As a child of God, know that your Daddy God is excited about your upcoming wedding, and He is very rich! I have not seen couples in our church lacking on their wedding day. What I have seen is money coming in on the wedding day itself. And by the time the celebration is over, everything is paid up. So instead of trusting your efforts to have enough for your big day, God wants you to fix your wedding date and put your trust in Him to provide for you abundantly.

Are you faced with a financial debt? How much do you think you can save by working overtime and taking on a second job? Some of our church members will testify that God simply turned their financial situations around. In fact, Pastor Mark, our Hokkien and Mandarin services pastor, had a sizeable debt before he became a Christian. After he got saved, he handed his debt problem over to God. Within two years, his debt was supernaturally cleared and he even had a surplus!

My friend, faith is the hand that takes from God. And He is easy to take from!

Very True:

Many among us will keep on thinking and worrying about our problems,rather than giving it in GOD’s Hands.You will keep on crushing your Spirit with anxiety.But when you pray and leave it to GOD..HE will restore peace in your heart.

1)Whom to ask?
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.-Isaiah 9:6

2)Where is Peace,in HIM alone?
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”-John 16:33

3)Who will receive it?
And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever-Isaiah 32:17

5)Assurance:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.-Romans 15:13

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.-Colossians 3:15

http://billyburke.org/PrayerMinistryRoom/JourneyofYourPrayerRequest/tabid/142/Default.aspx

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