How’s Your Appetite?

As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby. 1 Peter 2:2

Whenever we buy a new gadget we sometimes fail to read the user’s manuals. So, oftentimes we start pushing buttons and always end up doing the very thing that we were not supposed to do. It is always good to consult the user’s manual.

The same is true of our lives. The Bible gives us direction, and it also warns us about things we should avoid. 2 Timothy 3:16–17 tells us, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

God’s Word is alive. It is full of living power, exposing us for what we really are. I like what Martin Luther said about the Bible: “The Bible is alive, it speaks to me; it has feet, it runs after me; it has hands, it lays hold of me.”

One way that a physician can tell whether someone is healthy or sick is by their appetite or lack thereof. When a patient doesn’t have an appetite, it is usually an indication that something is wrong. In the same way, if you are a Christian and don’t have an appetite for God’s Word, that is an indication of a spiritual breakdown. It would say that you are not where you ought to be spiritually, because hungry children are healthy children.

Success or failure in the Christian life is dependent on how much of the word you get into your heart and mind on a daily basis and how obedient you are to it. If you neglect the study of the Scriptures, then your spiritual life ultimately will unravel. Why? Because everything you need to know about God is taught in the Bible.

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An Essential for Spiritual Growth

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” Joshua 1:8

If you want to be a growing Christian, you must read, study, and love the Word of God. Why? Because one of the first things that a young Christian will face is doubt. When I became a believer, I didn’t feel anything emotionally, but I could see changes in my life. And right away I started doubting. I thought, Oh man. What if this isn’t true?

When the devil came to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, what did he say? He challenged the Word of God: “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1). He was saying, in effect, “Did God really say what you thought He said?”

If you know the word of God, you can defend yourself against the enemy’s attacks. It’s nice to carry a Bible in your handbag, briefcase, or on your smartphone, but the best place to carry God’s word is in your heart.

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Fishing in the Waters of Our Past

You will have mercy on us again; You will conquer our sins. You will throw away all our sins into the deepest part of the sea. Micah7:19

We often get to the place where we are willing to face and turn away from our sin. We come to God with a broken and repentant heart and lay that sin at His feet. We walk away … secure in His love and forgiveness … until a memory rocks that forgiveness and makes us question its validity. The enemy accuses and taunts us with our unworthiness, and we agree with him. Before we know it, we are re-living sins that Jesus has forgiven and buried at the deepest part of the sea.

We need to quit fishing in the waters of our past. We must deal with sin and leave it behind. When we allow sin to build up in our lives, it cultivates a sense of condemnation. Guilt soon follows … and so does the enemy. Satan loves to use guilt as a foothold in our lives and wreak havoc. Guilt is the gift that keeps on giving … unless we stop it in its tracks with the unconditional love and overwhelming forgiveness of God.

Sin requires only one payment … and that payment has already been made when Jesus gave His life for us on the cross. God’s way almost seems too easy, doesn’t it? We ask for His forgiveness, and He gives it. Really? Really!

We act as if the Holy Spirit needs our help when it comes to dealing with sin. He doesn’t. We live in a way that suggests what Jesus did on the cross is not enough. It is more than enought. Scripture is clear about God’s attitude when one of His children repents and seeks His forgiveness.

Isaiah 1:18 “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. Though they be as crimson, they shall be like wool.”

Today is the day for you to walk in the freedom of God’s forgiveness. Today is the day for you to quit fishing in the waters of your past.

Father, I am so tired of trying to live each day, carrying the baggage of my past. Please give me the courage to face the sins I have tried so hard to bury. Help me turn away from each one, leaving it in Your hands. Thank You, Lord, for Your grace, Your mercy, Your love, and Your forgiveness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Today, make the choice to walk in the freedom of God’s forgiveness. Set aside time to spend in prayer. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any sin in your life. Confess that sin and leave it behind. Read and memorize Psalm 103:12.

Psalm 103:12 “He has taken our sins away from us as far as the east is from west.”

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Choosing Forgiveness

Reference Scripture: Genesis 33:1-4

Brothers and sisters, if a person is caught doing something wrong, you who are spiritual should restore someone like this with a spirit of gentleness. Galatians 6:1

We are children living in a fallen world; we all fall short. How do we respond when our brothers and sisters sin?

Genesis provides a beautiful illustration of a brother’s love and forgiveness. Jacob had stolen Esau’s inheritance and blessing. Many years later, when the brothers were reunited, Esau made a choice. He could have held on to resentment; instead he chose to receive his brother with grace and mercy.

Faced with the transgressions of our fellow believers, we can choose to be bitter and to place blame. Or we can choose to reach out with loving arms to lift up our brothers and sisters when they stumble.

Thought for the Day: How can I offer the grace of Christ to fellow believers?

Prayer: Merciful God, thank you for your unending grace. Thank you for loving us no matter how many times we fail. Help us to extend your love to our brothers and sisters. Amen.

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God’s Forgiveness

Psalms 103:8-13

The LORD is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love…

King David had an acute understanding of the love of God. It is as if he could see the very heart of Jehovah Himself. David, who knew sin so well, knew the forgiver of sin better. He who struggled with sinful passions in such profound ways, was also set free by the miraculous compassion and mercy of God.

He writes, “The Lord is like a tender and compassionate father.” Who could write such beautiful words? Who could so eloquently write about God’s forgiveness other than someone who knew first hand, the love of the Father. David knew God.

God offers the same experience to us. Meditate on God’s mercy, compassion and love. Let the words of the Psalm radiate brightly in your heart and make them your own. And may the realization of your own forgiveness be imprinted deeply on your mind just as it was on David’s.

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Trust In God

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
The way forward through the next choice in life should always be guided by a complete reliance on God [“trust in the Lord with all your heart”] and a desire to exalt and honor Him [“in all your ways acknowledge Him”]!
What would happen if you changed your basis for decision-making? What if you made your decision based on the answer to the question, “What would honor God the most?” And how would your response to the situation be different if you were completely relying on God and not on yourself? What if you applied these same criteria to all your decisions? What if you decided what to do with your whole life on this basis? What would change?
Then do it. When you make those things the criteria for your life-decisions, what is God’s promise? “He will make your paths straight.” That is, the way forward will be obvious. Not necessarily easy! But God will be directing your life. And you can trust Him in the driver’s seat.
What are you facing today that you need to re-examine on the basis of these two criteria: trusting and honoring God?

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Your Will Be Done

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Ephesians 3:20

Do you say yes to everything your children ask for? I hope not.

When you ask God for something, He may say no, and you may think that God is so unfair. But did you ever consider that God has something better for you?

Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven . . .” (Matthew 6:9–11). Before offering a word of personal petition, we should first pray, “Your will be done.”

We also read in Philippians 4:6–7, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

What does God promise that He will do if we pray this way? He promises to bring us peace. And “His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

Proverbs 15:15 says, “He who is of a merry heart has a continual feast.” The Bible promises a cheerful heart to the follower of Christ.

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Learning To Receive

Read John 13:1-8

God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. 1 Peter 5:5

At the time, I was convinced I was doing the honorable Christian thing. After all, doesn’t the Bible say that it’s better to give than to receive? (Acts 20:35). I thought turning down my friend’s offer of food was part of learning “in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Phil. 4:11, kjv).

Kindhearted enough not to take “no” for an answer, that same friend blessed me the very next day with some credit (top-up). It was just the amount I wanted but could not afford it at the time.

Still accustomed to being the “giver”, I was reluctant to accept the credit. But when I received the confirmation message it was clear that God had told her I needed it.

While using the credit to activate my data plan, I remembered Peter’s refusal to allow Jesus to wash his tired feet. Suddenly it sank in; I was a mirror image of the prideful apostle. Raised to be self-sufficient, I often tend to view letting others do something for me as a sign of weakness. As I meditated further on the scriptures, the Holy Spirit blessed me with wonderful enlightenment: Part of serving others is letting them serve me.

Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, help us understand that being willing to receive is itself an act of love for another. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Comfort and Hope

“LORD, you know the hopes of the helpless. Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them.” Psalms 10:17 

There are times when we feel helpless. But it doesn’t mean we are hopeless. David shared that God can give us hope no matter how helpless we feel. He hears our cries and will bring us comfort. That is why Abraham kept hoping even when there was no reason for hope. Even when circumstances did not make any sense, it was the comfort of hope that allowed Abraham’s faith not to weaken. Paul shared that “Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise.

In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God.” Why did his faith grow stronger? Because He knew God and “he was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.” How my heart yearns for that kind of faith, that kind of trust, that kind of hope.Today, may we know God like David. May we believe God like Abraham. May our faith grow stronger.Today, let us keep hoping.

Father, help me know You better. Increase my faith. Help me to trust in You and be comforted and full of hope. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.

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If You Love Me…

“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” – John 15:10

Moms and Dads, what is the greatest proof of your children’s love for you? Is it when they say they love you? That’s great, but does it prove they love you? No. The real proof of their love is when they willingly obey you. Many people miss this truth. The same holds true when it comes to loving God. Many say they love God, maybe even go to church regularly, but there isn’t much evidence of obedience to God’s rules in their lives – which, of course, is the real evidence of our love.

Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” The proof of our love is our willingness to obey God and His commands. Doesn’t it make you feel great when your child willingly obeys you? It gives you joy because you feel maybe they “got it.” Why don’t you give God the same joy? Obey Him because it’s your desire to do so. Love Him like you want to be loved by others.

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