I am God, and there is no other. —Isaiah 46:9
Life is hard for the villagers who live on a hilly terrain in the Yunnan Province of China. Their main source of food is corn and rice. But in May 2012 a severe drought hit the region and the crops withered. Everyone was worried, and many superstitious practices were carried out as the people attempted to end the drought. When nothing worked, people started blaming the five Christians in the village for offending the spirits of the ancestors.
These five believers gathered to pray. Before long, the sky darkened and thunder was heard. A heavy downpour started and lasted the whole afternoon and night. The crops were saved! While most of the villagers did not believe God sent the rain, others did and desired to find out more about Him and Jesus.
In 1 Kings 17 and 18 we read of a severe drought in Israel. But in this case, we are told, it was a result of God’s judgment on His people (17:1). They had begun to worship Baal, the god of the Canaanites, believing that this deity could send the rain for their crops. Then God, through His prophet Elijah, showed that He is the one true God who determines when rain falls.
Our all-powerful God desires to hear our prayers and answer our pleas. And though we do not always understand His timing or His purposes, God always responds with His best for our lives.
Through prayer, we draw upon the power of the infinite God.
SEEK HIM …
… Seek me and live – Amos 5:4
The Bible tells us that Jesus came to give us abundant life. Not only did He come to give you life in eternity, but He desires that you experience abundant life here on earth. He wants your relationships to be vibrant and alive. He wants your dreams to be alive. He wants your body, heart and mind to be alive and full of vitality. God is the source of all life, and when you seek Him, you will find Him, and the result will be everlasting life.
Are there areas in your life that need to be resurrected? Are there dreams that you’ve put on the back burner that you need to revive again? Do you need hope or faith for something today? Seek God and allow Him to breathe His life into you. Seek Him with your dreams; seek Him with your plans. Seek Him in all things, and you will find His abundant life, and everything you set your hand to will prosper in Jesus’ name.
ARE YOU AFRAID? TRUST GOD!
‘You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You…’ – Isaiah 26:3 NLT
Fear is a normal part of living. And the most successful and confident people you know experience it. The difference is they refuse to be ruled by fear because they know that, when it gets out of control, it can paralyse you. The Bible says, ‘…fear involves torment…’ (1 John 4:18 NKJV) Neuroscientists at Yale University discovered that patients who expected to experience an electric shock had anxiety levels similar to those who responded to the real thing. Researcher Elizabeth Phelps writes, ‘A lot of our fears and anxieties are learned through communication. If someone tells you to be afraid of a dog, then the brain responds as if you actually were.’ In other words, our brains don’t know the difference between real and imagined threats. This goes a long way toward explaining why the National Institute of Mental Health reported that almost twenty million Americans suffer from anxiety disorders. Someone who’s perfectly safe, but has a fear of being robbed, suffers just as much as someone living in a situation with a high risk of robbery, or someone actually in the act of being robbed. Because our brains don’t discriminate between emotions that are real or imagined, fear can dominate our lives, and it’s just as devastating as physical injury. Psychologist Marilyn Barrick said, ‘For the most part, fear is nothing but an illusion. When you share it with someone, it tends to disappear.’ So share your fears with God and watch them begin to disappear. The Bible says, ‘You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You!’
THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD EXPOSES YOUR PERFECTION
John 8:12 – Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
When I was a teenager, I heard preachers saying this: “Jesus is the light of the world. So don’t think for one moment that you can do things behind His back. His light will expose all the bad things that you have done!” So I was afraid to come near God, fearing that His glorious light would show up my faults, weaknesses and shame.
But is this what “the light of the world” does?
The truth is found in the context of the verse. Jesus declared that He was the light of the world right after He had told the woman caught in the act of adultery, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”
When she said, “No one, Lord”, He said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” Then, the Bible tells us that “Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world…’” (John 8:10–12)
How wonderful it is to know that when Jesus said, “I am the light of the world,” His light was not to show up the woman’s sin because He had just told her that He did not condemn her.
This tells us that we don’t have to be fearful when we come into God’s presence. He is not there waiting to punish us for our mistakes and failures. His light is not for exposing our sins and shame, or for condemning us. No, His glorious light is for showing us how perfectly His Son’s blood has washed away our sins! That is why Jesus could tell the woman that He did not condemn her—because He would be condemned for her sin as well as ours at the cross.
Beloved, Jesus’ light unveils the truth that our sins have been completely removed. It reveals how perfect and spotless we are because of Christ’s perfect work at the cross. When you know this, you can go boldly into God’s presence, knowing that you have the light of life that gives you grace and hope!
OUR HOPE IS IN ETERNITY
But there shall not an hair of your head perish. In your patience possess ye your souls. – Luke 21:15-22
Jesus says the disciples were betrayed by parents, brothers, relatives, friends, and some disciples were even put to death. Yet, the amazing statement of Christ is that not a hair of their head will perish. The context of this statement speaks of some of the disciples dying, so this is not a promise that no physical harm will ever come. This could only refer to the resurrection.
The Greek word for “resurrection” means “a standing or rising up.” The resurrection is a major theme of New Testament teaching. Out of the 13 sermons in the book of Acts, 11 stress or imply the resurrection.
The hope of the believer is the resurrection. The natural, earthly, terrestrial, corrupt, weak, mortal, vile body is said to be raised, changed and fashioned into a spiritual, heavenly, celestial, incorrupt, glorious, powerful, and immortal body. This is the completeness that has been purchased for all of us in Christ.
The Lord views everything in the light of eternity. Man tends to view things in the context of his brief life on earth. From man’s perspective, a person who dies for his faith in Jesus has lost a great deal. From Jesus’ viewpoint, a martyr hasn’t lost a thing. Even the very hairs on our head are numbered.
The patience that Jesus is speaking of here is the calm assurance that God knows every hurt that we feel and He will abundantly recompense us in the resurrection. This knowledge enables us to control our emotions in the face of persecution (i.e. possess our souls) instead of letting our emotions of fear dominate us.