Monthly Archives: April 2014

Thriving or Surviving?

Text: Job 8:21

God will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.

We all want a life filled with happy endings, but we seem to be living lives that could well be described as “joy-less.” Every day is lived at the mercy of the world.

God promises that if we know Him, we will know true joy. Joy is not merely happiness. True joy is an unshakable confidence that God is in control.

God is our one and only source of joy and stands ready and waiting to saturate every circumstance with His presence. As His children, joy is ours to claim. Really? If that is true, then where is it? Why are so many of us facing each day with a sense of dread instead of a confident celebration?

Maybe it is because of the Joy Stealers who lurk in the shadows, waiting to crush joy wherever they find it. I have great news for you, friend. Nothing and no one can take your joy without your permission. So, don’t give it! Choose joy instead. 

Choosing joy requires us to identify and eliminate the “joy stealers” in life. You may be allowing a person to take your joy. Maybe some painful experience from a shadowed yesterday is an obstacle of joy in your life today. Perhaps a fearful circumstance or a broken dream is the culprit.

I know life can be painful. I know it is often hard and unfair. I also know God is in control. So if God really is God (and He definitely is), then we can and should be people of joy.

Lord, remind me to live each day against the backdrop of eternity. I pray that, in every circumstance, I would choose joy, knowing that You are in control. 

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Spiritual things are more important than material things

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Paul says that the “things which are not seen” (spiritual things) are more important than the “things which are seen” (material things) because spiritual things are eternal.

Are you focusing your life on things that will have no value after your eulogy is read? Or are you focusing your life — your time, your energy, your abilities, your money, your relationships and your thoughts — on things that will last forever? Things that bring God glory, things that lead other people to faith in Christ, things that encourage others in their spiritual growth.

A focus on self always leads your life in the direction of things that do not last. A focus on God always leads your life in the direction of things that really matter. What is the focus of your life?

Ask God to`open your eyes’ to what really matters. Sometimes it’s when we close our eyes in prayer that we see most clearly.

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The Commission

Jesus, before His incarnation, was equal with the Father and He possessed all authority and power. He is still equal to the Father, but now He has two natures: God and Man. Therefore, as the God-man, as the Mediator, all power was given him. This is because Jesus was a man (Phil. 2:5-8) and had humbled Himself.

 Jesus wants you to finish what He began.  He came to the disciples, taught them, and worked with them.  He then died on the cross and rose from the dead.  But, before He ascended into heaven, He gave them, and us, the commission to convert the world.  He will not ask you to do the impossible.

You need to know that your efforts to honor Christ by obeying His call to make disciples of all nations is something that you can do.  Do it where you are, with those whom you meet, with the those you work with, with those you go to school with, etc.  Be a witness for Jesus in your lives and when necessary, talk about Him, too.

When seek to accomplish God’s will, He will bless your efforts because you’re seeking to obey Him.

 

 

Matthew 28:18, “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”

  1. This is one of the most crucial statements that Jesus ever made.
  2. Jesus has all the authority… in heaven and on earth.
    1. Authority to forgive sins (Luke 5:207:48).
    2. Authority to mediate to the Father (1 Tim. 2:5).
    3. Authority to send the Holy Spirit (John 14:2615:26).
    4. Authority to open the hearts and minds of His people (Luke 24:45).
    5. Authority to reveal the Father (Matt. 11:27Luke 10:22).
    6. Authority to give eternal life to whom He chooses (John 10:27-28).
    7. Authority to raise us up on the last day (John 6:40).

 

Twelve Ways Christians Can be Less Mean

It seems to me, we’ve lost some of our civility when it comes to what we post on social media. We are quick to blast a company that we feel has wronged us. We criticize people — right on their Facebook page. We load the comments of a blog post with crushing blows.

Surely you’ve seen it. The web has made it much easier to be a critic.

But, it’s also in public. I’ve seen Christians I know act like jerks in a restaurant, in a shopping mall, at the doctor’s office, grocery store etc. I consistently hear of and see Christians who serve smiling on Saturday/Sunday but are mean to others during the week. It all has to hurt our witness as Christians.

There are ways we can be “less mean”. Here are a few suggestions:

Consider others better than yourself. (Philippians 2:3)

Forgive one another. (Ephesians 4:32)

Love one another. (John 13:34)

Be kind and compassionate to one another. (Ephesians 4:32)

Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. (James 1:19)

Treat others as you would want to be treated. (Luke 6:31)

Have the mind of Christ. (Philippians 2:5)

Remember kindness leads to repentance. (Romans 2:4)

Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. (Psalm 34:13)

Honor everyone. (1 Peter 2:17)

Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. (Ephesians 4:29)

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. (Romans 12:10)

Just a few of those should improve the quality of our involvement with others.

And, finally, a bonus one:

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. (Colossians 3:12–14)

Those are some of my suggestions.

Got any others? Let me hear them!

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Freedom From Worry

Matthew 6:25-35

When we keep our eyes on Jesus we have nothing to worry about for He knows our every need. During such times of uncertainty like job losses, divorce, recessions, droughts, famine and sickness, Jesus is never caught off guard or caught by surprise. He knows humans tendency to worry about things. When we worry about the future we are borrowing trouble from tomorrow and ruining today. Remember Jesus spoke more about worry than heaven, hell, or sin than anything else? It is because He knew that we look more at our circumstances than we look at Him. But when we keep our eyes on Jesus, we know that we can depend upon Him for He is the God of nature, natural events and yes, our circumstances too. 

Matthew 6:25-35 should give us all the reassurance we need to know that He is always in control no matter what things look like. “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Tomorrow is what keeps people awake at night. We just can’t turn it off sometimes because we are simply not keeping our eyes on Jesus. This may be because we are trusting in our own resources, our own money and our own portfolio. But there is no one who has more resources that the God of the universe. Psalm 50:10 should remind us of who has the most resources of all: “for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.”  When Jesus said in John 3:16 that “whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” the word “believe” means to trust upon, to rely on, to depend upon. That’s what “believe in” means. He has said that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5) and will never, ever cast us away (John 6:37), we must believe Him at His word. The strength of your faith is only as strong as the object of your faith and since Jesus is God and God can not lie, He will not leave you orphans (John 14:8).

If you are a believer, you have no reason to worry. If you are concerned about today, tomorrow and your eternal future, then the solution is to keep your eyes fixed and set upon Jesus for all eternity and have Him remain with you forever.

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Changed For Eternity

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on Him shall never perish.” – John 3:16

Having completed a weekend of acknowledging Christ’s death on the cross to cover our sins and His glorious resurrection, making it possible to spend eternity with God, there is something on my mind I must share with you. I simply can’t share it enough. My friends, there are some of you who have never made the decision to follow Jesus. I want you to know that everyone who has been reading this daily devotional has been introduced to Jesus. Just by reading this today, you have been introduced to Jesus. Realize that Jesus has been reaching out to you, long before you’ve reached out to Him. Jesus is speaking to you at this moment and it is time for you to respond, regardless of the newness of your acquaintance.

But many others of you know a lot about Jesus. You’ve come to understand more about Him, yet you’ve still been hesitant to step out in faith and follow Him as your Saviour and Lord. I assure you, He’s trustworthy. He’s the One you’ll want to follow, because He knows where He’s going. He’ll get you to where you need to go which is, ultimately, heaven. If you’ve been reluctant to follow Jesus, let today be the day that you step out in faith and decide to follow Him, knowing that Christ has great plans for your life. Christ sees more potential in you than anybody on this earth. You don’t want to miss out on your eternal destiny.

I encourage you, as I always do – please choose to accept the call to follow Jesus. Today. Then, if you do, let someone know what you have done. I promise your life will be changed for eternity!

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The Single Act That Defined Christianity

“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen!” – Luke 24:5-6

What is the one single act that defined Christianity? The virgin birth? The philosophies of Jesus Christ? The great miracles – feeding of the 5,000, turning water into wine, healing the sick? While all of these acts of Christ certainly set Him above any other person who has ever walked the earth, nothing compares to His death and resurrection from the dead. Through His death, Jesus gave His life to pay the penalty of my sin. Through His resurrection, He conquered sin and death and gives us that power, as well. And today, we celebrate this wonderful moment and the joyous consequences that stemmed from it.

When I contemplate the amazing grace that exploded from His resurrection, I find myself humming, and singing some of the words to this hymn, He Lives!

God sent His son, they called Him, Jesus;
He came to love, heal and forgive;
He lived and died to buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives!

He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me; He talks with me along life’s narrow way.

He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives,
He lives within my heart.

It is my prayer that this Easter inspires you to new hope, happiness, prosperity and abundance, all received through God’s divine grace. May the resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ,
fill you with joy this blessed Easter Sunday!

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