In Jeremiah 15:16, the prophet Jeremiah wrote, “Your words were found and I ate them, And your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart.”
In Jeremiah 15:16, the prophet Jeremiah wrote, “Your words were found and I ate them, And your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart.”
James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
This verse places us into two categories.
1. Doers of the Word
2. Hearers only
The question this morning is, “Which category am I in”?
The admonition before us in this verse is that every believer must be a hearer and a doer of the Word. James reminds us that simply hearing the word is nothing without actually living it out.
To be a “doer of the word” is of utmost importance, and should be a constant habit with the child of God. Just hearing it will not do. The Bible is not written merely to educate us, but to teach us how to live our everyday lives.
Today is a very special day… It is my mother’s birthday.
On this day, 14th May the best person entered this world and later she became my lovely mom. I’m so grateful to you my dear mother. Mom, I want to thank you for all the care and love you have given me throughout my life.
Psalm 34:8 says, O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
This verse means that you have to get to know God and see what he is really like.
David yearns for us to experience and enjoy what he has experienced and enjoyed. He is excited and has a passion and desire to bring others into his deep personal experience of God’s goodness. And so he is inviting us to experience what he has experienced with God. With assurance and confidence David knows and can testify about God and what he is like. He can tell us every day repeatedly about the goodness of God but until we actually experience that for ourselves we will not fully appreciate it.
Take for example the taste of sugar: What does sugar taste like? You can describe it, but until someone actually tastes the sugar for themselves they will not fully know. If you ask me if sugar is sweet, I will tell you, “Yes.” If you ask me if I am sure, I will say “Definitely.” Why? Because I have tasted sugar several times and every time it is sweet.
David encourages us to try out God. He wants us to experience His provision as he have. If we will only place our trust in God, we will find by experience that He is faithful and He is good. There is really no other way of knowing how good God is. David challenges us to put to the test what he affirms about God by trusting and serving God. Taste and see and experience the benefits of a personal relationship with God.
Until next time thank you for reading.
Psalm 46:2-4 Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea. Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.
Verse 2 of the Psalm says “will not we fear” – this is a strong affirmation of trusting God in the most troublesome situations. In spite of the fact that there will be trouble God is an ever present help willing and able to shield us, protect us, lead and guide us in and from the trouble that will come. The Psalmist said that even if the world was turned upside down he knew that God would take care of him. We should not fear because God is the one who takes care of us. We don’t need to rely on our own strength, but we can rely on God who will protect us.
Further in verse 2 and verse 3 David speaks of the instability of the world, saying “…though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea. Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof”, God is there; in all of the situations in life God is present. No matter what our circumstance, He shelters us from the troublesome issues of this life, provides us a shelter in the time of storm, friendship in times of loneliness, light in the midst of our darkest of days. This gives us great confidence in perilous times.
It is the presence of God that moves the earth from the shaking of the mountains and the roaring of the waters to a river and streams that make glad and a city that is not moved. With this realization there is no situation that is so daunting that I cannot get through it. I am assured of this: God is all powerful and as His child I need not fear. However painful or difficult our circumstances might be, there is a place we can go to for safety, protection and comfort. God is our refuge and shelter, we are safe under his care.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1
Verse 1 of the Psalm declares some things about God, they are comforting, reassuring reminders. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. It is a great reminder for today and every day.
God is our refuge – a place of safety and shelter and is also our strength, the one who gives us strength when we are weak. As well as those emergency times, this verse reminds us that God is also a very present help in trouble.
What is it with this forest? Oh Lord, please give me at least an hint!!!
Dreams are said to be a representation of our emotions and desires, but did I have a desire to be in a forest deep within my heart? I have been on a journey, walking for a while in the forest and it doesn’t look like there will be a moment of waking up from my dream. I cannot fathom the reasons for these dreams.
There I was again stuck in the forest. Tears ran down my cheeks as I stood alone on a grassy hill side beneath the clear blue sky in this unfamiliar place. I started walking and before I knew it I was in this mysterious place. I said mysterious because all the trees around me looked evil; they have very long, sharp, pointy thorns on them. All around me was the sound of insects and birds. Though I could not see them, I knew they were there; as the sounds echoed all over the forest. There were also sounds of rustling bushes and the howl of the wind. There were these weird plants look alike things that I accidently stepped on that cut me on my leg. I kicked a rock and bit my lip as my leg surged with pain.
Have you ever found yourself in a “forest”?
Sometime before 3am I had a dream about being in a forest. I dreamt I was traveling to an unknown destination with family members, when suddenly I realized I was alone in an unfamiliar place. There I stood, no clue about my surroundings, a place I had never been before. I looked around and there were only trees and more trees. I then realized that I was lost in this unknown forest. I started walking in the direction that I thought was the way to get out but there was no end in sight. I was seriously doubting if I was even heading in the right direction as the bush was so thick. I tripped and fell over tree branches and rocks as I struggle to find my way home.
During my personal time with the Lord early this morning, I was prompted to meditate on some verses in Psalms that talk about God’s wings of protection. When I think of wings, I think of a mother bird and a hen taking care of their little ones.
Psalm 91: 1-4, He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
The first thing that I see in these verses is that the wings of God are, for me and for you, a place of protection, satisfaction and a place of refreshment.
The shadow of the Almighty is a safe place to dwell and ultimately it is the only safe place to dwell. God is faithful to protect and deliver. He is our fortress, high tower, the place where we can run to, to be safe. The key to this protection is in the first verse. We must stay close, abide in Him, let him be the Secret Safe place.
I love the imagery in verse 4 of the Psalm, “He will cover you with his feathers“, and under his wings you will find protection. The picture of a parent bird, or a mother hen, wooing its’ chicks and putting them in safety underneath her wings. As the offspring of the bird finds refuge under the wings of his parent, so we can find our refuge under the protection of Almighty God. Too often in this world, we turn to God when it is either convenient for us, or when we have messed up so bad we have nowhere else to turn.
Friends, we are compelled to always be prepared to share the Gospel; we are NOT compelled to chase rabbits with those who don’t want to hear it. We are also not compelled to roll over belly up. 1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an […]
If you are looking for an example of God’s grace, look no further. This is ME! It is by God’s grace I am celebrating another year of fulfilment. Without God I am nothing and for this I appreciate Him for the gift of life.
Today I woke up and realized I have been blessed with another year on earth, with my family and friends to share it with, and with a grateful heart I say thank you Heavenly Father.
It is stunningly humbling and awe-inspiring to be alive today that I cannot help but think that having the opportunity to grow older is a total privilege worth celebrating. The joy I am feeling today is epic, I am blessed and honoured that another year has been added to my life. Whilst I am experiencing a little discomfort physically, I am able to get out of bed and move around without anyone assisting me, here I am feeling bubbly, and thanking God for being alive.
Gratitude is a powerful thing. Or perhaps more accurately, gratitude is an empowering thing. Having an attitude of gratitude is wonderful. It’s so easy to be fixated on gaps or our faults. But our perspective certainly changes when we start to focus on things to be grateful for.
I can tell you that when you intentionally look for opportunities to be thankful then they will never run out.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”(Galatians 5:22-23)
As I ponder the nine attributes of the fruit of the spirit I have concluded that the first evidence or fruit of the Holy Spirit residing in you, the first fruit love, is one that pretty much sums up the whole bible.
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17
The true evidence that you are truly a new creation is that you live your life for Jesus Christ and not yourself. In order for us to be able to look like and act like Jesus on the outside, first we must become like Him on the inside.
We are called to imitate God in our daily living. Can the world smell the fragrance of Christ and see him in our lives?
“Ye shall know them by their fruits. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them” Matthew 7:16 & 20.
It is easy to say that we are Christians, however, the truth is, our character, not our tongues will reveal who we really are.
As Christians, our character should be like Christ’s character. We are to strive to be like Jesus.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
You may notice that the word, “fruit,” is in the singular number. There is only one fruit of the Spirit, but it contains nine virtues. If one of the virtues is missing then we do not have the fruit of the Spirit.
Having an attitude of gratitude is important because it helps us to see the bright side of life. I believe if we are grateful for everything big or small our actions have a positive impact.
Gratitude and appreciation go hand in hand. It is a mind managing tool which has the power to change how we feel about a certain situation. It also helps to set our goal and achieve them in the right manner.
No matter how bad the situations around you are, you can always choose to respond positively. Being grateful makes you look at the world through positive lens. We are surrounded by so many blessings, it is easy to overlook the multitude of little things God gives every day. Let us not take things for granted but be grateful even for simple things.
We all have the ability and opportunity to choose our perspective. I choose to be grateful. There are a lot of benefits that come from cultivating an attitude of gratitude.
I have come to realize that gratitude is cultivated and practiced rather than achieved and it has the power to change one’s life. There is a distinctive feeling associated with gratitude; a kind of awe, indescribable and beyond expression. When I am immersed in true gratitude it is one of the most powerful experiences I have ever had. It is so overwhelming it almost always brings me to tears.
Practicing gratitude and appreciation is probably one of the highest returns on investment of any action we can take. It costs us nothing and creates incredible energy and impact. Learning to be grateful helps to increase our well-being.
Gratitude is one of the most powerful human emotions, because it not only enables us to appreciate what we already have, but also helps to attract new blessings into our lives.
This day, as you are reading this, whether it be at the start of your day, or at the end of it, take a moment to think about all that you have to be grateful for, regardless of how hard life can be and the many challenges you encounter.
There are times when I have been ungrateful, when I complain and grumble about life and its circumstances, about suffering, disappointments, and going through what seems endless trials and tribulations. Yet the Lord is always there with me, even when it seems like I am forever in the wilderness.
In a world where most of us are programmed to strive for more, desire what we do not have, and lust after what is faster, better and stronger, we forget to appreciate what we have.
It made me think: what would happen if we could all learn to live with less? What if we could accept the gifts life has to bestow upon us and let what we have be enough? What if we took measures to simply count our blessings everyday? Would we or could we be happier or more contented?
Our hearts often turn to God when we are in trouble, and less often when things are going well. But we need to count our blessings, not only when all is well, but every day of the year.
It is good to pause and see just how very blessed we are each day. Like a branch attached to a vine, we have access to all the blessings that flow from God to us.
Sometimes it is easy to worry because you are going through a tough time. However, remember that no matter how bad your situation may seem, there are tens of thousands of things to be grateful for.
When things are going well it can be easy to overlook the blessings in our lives. We can take for granted our health or the relationships we are fortunate enough to have and rather get caught up worrying about the challenges we face.
But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. GENESIS 39:21
Have you considered all the deeds of the steadfast love and faithfulness of God towards you?
I have been reflecting quite a bit lately on God’s blessings to me and the things for which I am personally grateful. I thought of making it my goal for this month.
I thought it would be good to share my testimony on tithing, so that anyone out there who may be doubting or even just without the know how, can start trusting God because He honors His word above His name.
“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” Malachi 3:10
The evening the summon arrived at home for me to serve as a Juror, I cringed. I was not excited about exercising this privilege. The thought of being gone from work for three weeks up to a month for jury duty evoked feelings of nervousness and annoyance, but, believe it or not, it is possible to enjoy the experience. I think you will find it to be an eye-opening, if not transformative experience.
My jury duty experience lasted over three weeks. I was part of a jury where the defendant was accused of three counts – forceable abduction, sexual touching and rape. It was a case with a defense attorney at law who had a great sense of humor and a jury group that was pleasant to be with and took the responsibility seriously. The jury team was made up seven members of society (including myself). We did not have an equal representation of men and women as it was made up of an odd number, nor did we have an equal age representation as we were randomly selected. From the start, we all seemed to bond pretty well. As a group we often found a way to laugh despite the boredom and heavy subject matter. Prayer brought us together and made us an incredibly efficient and productive jury: hearing over 25 cases.
Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. Jeremiah 33:3
Heavenly Father I thank you for being there for me throughout the year 2018, I could not have got through the year without you. Thank you for all the amazing blessings, especially good health. Thank you for the hills and valleys, trials and struggles you have given my family and loved ones. I am grateful and say, thank you!
This year has been one of many lows for me, sometimes I felt like giving up. At times I wondered where was my loving God in the many situations I faced. It was at those moments He reminded me that “He will never leave me; never will He forsake me.” Hebrews 13:5.
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Ephesians 3:17-19
One of the most vivid characteristics of God is that he is a God of love. God’s love bleeds into every fabric and fiber of our lives. His love touches every area of our lives. There is nowhere we can go to escape his love. There is no problem that we will encounter that is not touched by his love. There is no advancement that we will make where God is not already there. Even when our world falls apart, we can say, “God, I don’t know why this is happening. I don’t understand it, but I am glad to know you love me.
Lately I have been reflecting and thinking about the steadfast love of God. I come to realize that my love for the Lord and others can be so fickle at times. Some days I am thankful, some days I grumble and complain. If someone does something to irritate me, it is natural for me to become withdrawn. But incredibly, God’s love is steadfast. Immoveable, unchangeable and faithful. God’s love is incomprehensible. God’s unconditional and intense love for fallen humanity motivated the plan of salvation (Revelation 1:5). God’s love motivates His compassion and mercy (love in action). His love brings transformation.
Clearly God is love, 1 John 4:9-10 tells us that In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. God’s love is the foundation of all of life, it is the root that ties us down and nourishes us.
God’s love is the very basis of who we are and all we do. Every phone call we make, every whatsapp message we send, every e-mail we send, every church service we attend, every television programme we watch, every friendship we cultivate is meant to be rooted in the fabulous love of God. If we fail to root deep in the fertile soil of God’s love the only thing that can result is a shallow and sickly life, ending in death.
A few nights ago I dreamt I saw these words written in BOLD on the wall above the clock in my room, “GOD’S LOVE IS PERMANENT”. A sudden calm came over me. I have heard these words, “God loves me” many times and in many different ways, but to think that His love is permanent brought a new perspective to my beliefs. What struck me was how I don’t always live like I believe that “God’s love is permanent.” God’s love is not constrained by my sense of time or limited to our good deeds or lack of it.
While I will be quick to say “God loves me,” if I take an honest inventory of my life, at times I live as if God’s love has an expiration date. It is found in very subtle ways: When I am overwhelmed with life, I’m so busy trying to figure out things on my own that I don’t have time for God’s love (or to think that He actually wants to be a part of my busy schedule. While I do indeed know by experience that God loves me my heart memory fades. But God loves us all no matter where we are in life. His love is unconditional and is without limit. God loves us in all seasons of life. God’s love is permanent and can never fade away. Whether we go forward or backward, up to the heights or down to the depths, nothing will separate us from the love of Christ.
Jeremiah 31:3 “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.”
The sum of all this is that no matter how we attempt to measure the love of God, whether in its height, breadth, length or depth, the result is the same. It is infinite in its extent. There can be no greater love than His! And the supreme demonstration of the greatness of God’s love is seen in what it has accomplished for us.
Father, it is so humbling that you love us! May we fully appreciate that you love us in this way. Help us to understand just how much you love us so that when others see us, they see you! Help us to live in such a way that they see your love in us and through us.
Isaiah 54:10 says, “For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.”
Do you know that you are loved? Do you live daily in the knowledge of the love God has for you?
Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.”
Our trust in God must be undivided, for the double minded man is unstable in all his ways. The Bible says in James that we can’t be “double-minded” (James 1:8, 4:8). We are commanded to trust God with nothing less than “all our heart” [Note it says all your heart] and to obey Him in all our ways. This means, undoubtingly; undividedly; lovingly, total commitment to Him. It involves every fiber of our being. That’s the kind of trust we can have in God, a complete, unshakable, deep, abiding trust.
We need to notice something else about where Solomon says our trust should be placed: in the Lord – LORD in all capital letters.
We are to set our trust in the Lord entirely, with all our heart, with complete confidence in Him. Certainly, He is worthy of such whole-hearted trust and confidence. Even so, Psalm 5:11-12 declares, “But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee. For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.”
Psalms 34:8 Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him. The closing portion of Proverbs 3:5 gives the instruction, “And lean not unto thine own understanding.” We are to have no manner of self-confidence whatsoever. We are not to lean in any way, even the smallest bit, upon our own wisdom and ability. We must look unto God for counsel.
We are to acknowledge our Lord in every step, in every decision and direction, that we take in our daily living. He loves to be consulted. Therefore, take all your plans to Him. Be in the habit of going to Him in the first place, before self-will, self-pleasing, self-wisdom, human friends, convenience, expediency. Before any of these have been consulted, go to God at once. Consider no circumstances too clear to need His direction. In all thy ways, small as well as great; in all thy concerns, personal or relative, temporal or eternal, let Him be supreme.
In every step that we take in our daily walk, our Lord is not simply with us to help us along the way; He is also with us to direct us in the way. He is the Lord our God, and we must acknowledge the lordship authority of His will and direction in all our ways. Whatever we do, in word or deed, we are to do all under the authority of our Lord for His glory. Not our will, but His will is to be done. Daily, in all our ways, we are to deny our own will, take up our cross of submission to His will, and to follow after Him in absolute obedience. (Luke 9:23)
Finally, are there any benefits for trusting God, not relying on your own understanding and acknowledging Him in all your ways? I hope from faith and experience you can answer the question. But if you have any doubts, verse 6 concludes with a promise. It says that the result of following these commands is that “He will direct your path.” God promises clear direction to those who trust in Him. The path mentioned here is the course of our lives.
The response that God is commanding from all of us is to trust Him and put our faith in Him and not ourselves. Let each day be filled with the wonder of His presence guiding us, so that His ways become our ways. He is able to make straight paths for those who trust Him, acknowledge Him and lean not on their own understanding.
God wants to give us His guidance. He knows we need it, He knows we will fail without it. He also knows our capacity to follow His direction. He waits for us to pay attention to Him, to trust Him with our whole heart and to reject our own abilities to guide ourselves.
From this experience I do believe that we often sing the words of songs and quote scriptures without really stopping to think about what they really mean. Too often we just go through the motions. I don’t want to take another bible study or go to another church service without leaving there different than when I went in. I don’t want to just gain head knowledge, or have some fuzzy, feel good moment, I want to leave there empowered by the Holy Spirit to be different, to do different. I want to be empowered to be a world changer.
Lord I thank you that while our lives are ‘like the evening shadow’, you are eternal. Thank you that we can trust you no matter what situation we find ourselves in.
When you hear the word Christian what other words come to mind? If you ask someone who claims to be a Christian, they might say: faithful, loving, Jesus follower, servant’s heart.
Brands identify ownership. We live in a society that is very “brand” conscious. Most young people are “brand” conscious. When they are talking about products they have bought recently one of the first questions that come up are “What brand did you buy?”
My prayer these past couple of days has come from Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.
St. John 4:24, “God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” To worship in truth is to worship as the word of God directs. Continue reading
Scripture Reference: Mark 4:35-41
Storms can hit our lives in many ways, the loss of a loved one, a health crisis, a serious accident, losing a job at a time when finding a job is challenging. Some of the most painful storms are those that hit our relationships. Storm clouds can gather over a marriage – waves of conflict, bitterness, and even loneliness can fill the boat and sometimes even sink the marriage. Parents and children can hit storms in their relationships as well, with painful results for both parent and child.
Mark 4:35-37 35 And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. 36 And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. 37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.
Have you experienced storms in your life? Times when things just did not make sense. Times when you feel scared that you are going to be taken over by the storms, insecure, afraid and uncertain.
1 John 4:19 We love, because He first loved us. 20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.
Matthew 6:34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
What are you doing with your life? Do you begin your day asking God to use you, and make your life profitable for His kingdom? Are you making your life count for God, or do you live life with your personal desires as your priority? Are you making the most of your minutes, hours, days, weeks and years?
1 John 2:15-17 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.
Do not love the world. And the fact that John, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit needed to write this to these congregations, and that we now centuries later God designed for us to read it, suggests that we all have running in us an inclination to do this very thing.
“Show me, O LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life.” Psalm 39:4
Life is fragile and fleeting. We are mortal beings living in bodies and facing a perilous journey through time. For some, this journey will last only for a few years. For others, it will last many decades. But fortunately all, it will one day come to a halt. Just as sure as life has a beginning, life has an end. Take a walk through a cemetery, any cemetery and you will be reminded of this very basic truth of life. Beneath the name of the deceased on every tombstone you will see the date they were born and the date they died.
“It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: to shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night.” Psalm 92:1-2.
A day is not long enough to thank God for all that He’s given me. His blessings come daily. Psalm 68:19 says, “Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loadeth us with benefits….”
Life has been remarkable with lots of precious moments, life lessons, challenges and extraordinary blessings. I will never take any of it for granted and will remain eternally grateful for all things as I journey through life.
Life has been remarkable with lots of precious moments, life lessons, challenges and extraordinary blessings. I will never take any of it for granted and will remain eternally grateful for all things as I journey through life.Life has been remarkable with lots of precious moments, life lessons, challenges and extraordinary blessings. I will never take any of it for granted and will remain eternally grateful for all things as I journey through life.
Psalm 139:16 says: “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
This week as I reflected on the sudden death of my nephew I was reminded of a few things.
We can be walking along the road of life, minding our own business when suddenly, without warning, the storm clouds of crisis come rolling in. We are “out in the open” and unprepared, when abruptly painful tragedy rains down on us.
When times go well it is easy to take things for granted. The simple pleasures are overlooked. Blessing is expected rather than received with gratitude. Have you ever thought about how many things we take for granted every single day?
Matthew 6:26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
The Bible tells us that God will meet all our needs. He feeds the birds of the air and clothes the grass with the splendor of lilies. How much more, then, will He care for us, who are made in His image?
If our Heavenly Father cares for the birds, and feeds them every day, how much more will He care for you, His dear, precious child! Our only concern is to obey Heavenly Father and leave the consequences to Him.
To be real is to face the severity of the situation with childlike faith that says, I will do all I can do, and then I will see what God will do. Let your heart be at rest as you hear Him say to you, “Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:31)
Be convinced that you are of more value to your Heavenly Father than the birds, and let Him give you the good life without the toiling and laboring of the world.
Ref. Scripture: Psalm 23
He knows me – Psalm 23:1
A good Shepherd knows each and every sheep in the flock regardless of how big the numbers could be, (John 10:3-5). Likewise David when he uses the metaphor of the Shepherd to describe God, talks not just about a designation or a name for the Lord, but the relationship between God and his covenant children.
The Bible says that God knows each and every one of these people by their names. He not only knows but he cares. The Bible says God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life, (John 3:16). The Bible also says that whoever receives him (including you) receive the power to know God as personally as a son knows his father, (John 1:12).
He provides Psalm 23: 1-3
Sheep obviously cannot voice out their needs. Yet the shepherd naturally knows the needs of each and every animal in the flock. Likewise The Bible says that we don’t have to pray lengthy prayers like heathens do because God our creator is aware of our needs even before we ask him, (Matthew 6:7-8). The “green pastures” are the rich and verdant pastures, where the sheep need not move from place to place to be satisfied.
The fields even parts of the desert, would be green during the winter and spring. But in summer and fall the sheep would be led to many places in search of food. God’s care is not seasonal but constant and abundant. Shepherds don’t allow sheep to drink from running water (rivers etc.) because sheep while bending to drink water might also fall into it. Therefore Shepherds draw water from wells and give their sheep to drink. These wells in the middle east are very deep and require special mechanisms to draw water.
Lesson: We don’t need to worry about our needs because just like the Shepherd is aware of the needs of his flock and leads them to green pastures and still waters God also is aware of our needs, as well as how and where to meet them. Once again the new testament bears witness to His divine provision because in Matthew 6:25-34 Jesus advises us not to feel anxious about our needs and assures that God will provide.
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As the dawn approaches, Jesus goes out to the disciples walking on the water. With a loud resonating voice so he could be heard over the wind, Jesus speaks to the men with God-like overtones. His words echo those that Moses heard in the desert. “It is I” or literally, “I am.” The reaction of the disciples is not unusual given the circumstances. They were tired from the lack of sleep and a night of hard labor. They had not eaten for several hours.
They were quite a distance from shore. With the strong wind, they had not expected to see anyone else on the water even in a boat much less walking on the water. They were understandably mystified and frighten at the sight of a man standing on the water. They mistook him for a ghost but he quickly reassured them with the most frequent command in the Bible, “Fear not!”
How much like the disciples, are we? We labor for what seems like an eternity but when God finally comes to us, we fail to recognize him. He may not walk on water but his appearances are no less startling and mystifying. Circumstances fall into place, a person comes by for a visit or offers to help us during a time of crisis.
Peter responds to the words of our Lord by asking permission to come to Jesus. I have often wondered about Peter’s reasons for asking to walk on the water. Was he testing Jesus? Did he want to verify if this was really his Lord? Was he trying to prove the miracle to himself? Was he driven by his ego, to be the only disciple who would walk on the water? The point of the story is that Peter took the step of faith.
At some point in our lives, we have to leave behind the safety and security of the boat. We have to step into the realm of the unknown. We must be willing to trust our life to our Lord’s care. That is a difficult step. We spend our lives building a security net around us. We work hard to insulate ourselves from the danger of failure, the threat of the unknown and the terror of uncertainty. We get pretty comfortable in our boats. They are not fancy but we have everything we need.
Then God asks us to step out of our boat. To go and talk to a friend about their faith; to volunteer for a committee that requires us to do something we have never done before; to serve as a missionary. We do not feel prepared. We are not good public speakers. We do not have any teaching gifts. We do not know what to say to someone who is dying. What water is God expecting you to walk on?
Peter may not have leaped over the vessel but he took a certain step nonetheless and in that step, he captured of the essence of faith. Faith is belief expressed in action. It is trust declared in danger. It is courage revealed in the presence of the unknown. Peter, for one brief moment, expressed his belief, declared his trust and revealed his courage and he walked on the water.
After a few steps, Peter catches the wind in his face. It is said, “it is one thing to experience faith in a flash of enthusiasm, and quite a different thing to keep our courage seaworthy amidst the ups and downs of daily living.” Peter’s faith is now mixed with fear and “wondering whether Jesus or the raging wind will finally prevail, he begins to sink beneath the waters.”
Even in his faltering faith, Peter teaches us a valuable lesson-Jesus continues to save. He pulls Peter to safety and the two join the others in the boat. The disciples are startled by the events and in that moment they “discover that they are not at the mercy of the angry sea; they are in the mercy of their compassionate Savior.” Matthew tells us, “those in the boat worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.'”
Peter learned a difficult and pain lesson of faith. Faith requires risk and risk exposes us. It strips us of all the artificial camouflage behind which we try to hide. We are forced to stand with Peter and the other disciples to hear Jesus words, “You of little faith, why did your doubt?”
And so like the disciples we must learn to move from doubt to faith by:
Resisting the temptations of the world
Laboring against the wind
Seeing God when he comes
Taking the step of faith
Reference Scripture: Luke 12:6-7
God wants us to commit to spending with Him where He can make us feel special and loved and prepared for whatever the day holds. The more time we spend with Him, the more we will begin to feel and believe that we really are valuable, that we really do matter, and that our lives count for something in God’s eyes.
Luke 12:6-7 says “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
Did you know that in biblical times, sparrows were the lowest and least valuable commodity? Sold for less than a penny each? Basically they were deemed as worthless. But Jesus said not one of them was forgotten by God. Every sparrow was valuable in God’s eyes – so how much more are we, as children of God, worth to Him if He cares about the measly sparrows?
God doesn’t want us to spend time with Him because we feel obligated or out of Christian duty – but because He knows that the more time we spend with Him, the more we will begin to embrace how valuable we are. The more we embrace our value in Him, the more we will listen to and hear His voice. The more we hear His voice, the more likely we are to be excited about our faith and begin living intentionally and excitedly for Him.
The more we not only be still – but be still and listen – the more He can fill our hearts with forgiveness, peace, acceptance, joy and purpose. Time with Jesus is always time well spent.
Consider: Set a routine to spend time with God each morning, and make a commitment to stick to it. Mornings are always busy, so maybe consider getting up 30 minutes early each day. Consider looking up these verses for encouragement: Matthew 6:6, Exodus 9:13, Mark 1:35, Psalm 143:8.
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