SCRIPTURE FROM: Jeremiah 15:19-20 (NET)
TEXT: 19 Because of this, the Lord said,
“You must repent of such words and thoughts!
If you do, I will restore you to the privilege of serving me.
If you say what is worthwhile instead of what is worthless,
I will again allow you to be my spokesman.
They must become as you have been.
You must not become like them.
20 I will make you as strong as a wall to these people,
a fortified wall of bronze…..
OBSERVATION: I believe that there are times that we all face what seems to appear like stagnancy in our respective ministries. Of course, we question God as to why He left us ‘hanging’, or why have those we minister to become so arrogant and hateful to us, but how often do we imitate Jeremiah and actually seek God out to help us see inside of our sinful selves for the actual problem? Let’s look closer at this…..
APPLICATION: I understand that studies will show that more ministers of the gospel resign on a Monday than any other day of the week. Primarily because of their inside view of failure the day before in the pulpit, or in what was communicated between themselves and a parishioner. This is very indicative of what Jeremiah did, for he felt like he was in a ‘dead zone’ with no positive results outwardly or inwardly. Based on what God had to say to Jeremiah, it is apparent that Jeremiah was communicating negatively and portraying a negative attitude about the God who rescued him from a burning hell and promoted him to the heights of glory. I know, you would NEVER do anything like that, right? Unfortunately, it seems like we easily degrade ourselves into grumbling about things that didn’t go just like we had planned, or at least projected. We are quick to find fault, when we are just as vulnerable to sin and failure as the other person. Unlike the case of Jeremiah, we have one more thing that we would try today when trying to ‘fix’ everyone else, or every situation, for we have ‘Google’ where we could research the problem, and find hundreds of ideas on corrective measures! Friends, I trust that we will learn from Jeremiah, for when he came to his wits end, he went to God and asked for help and understanding for the situations at hand, especially the challenge of him feeling like God had forsaken him. I believe it would behoove us to ofen do a reality check with God, asking Him to open our eyes, our hearts, our emotions and our innermost feelings, so that we could receive an answer from the only One that we trust as having all of the answers. There is a saying that we use a lot in Christian circles: ‘we are sinners saved by grace’. Please let’s remind ourselves that the order of what is said in that clause remains true. We ARE sinners who sin. Praise God, many of us have surrendered our hearts to Jesus, and we are saved by His marvelous grace, but as long as we remain here on this earth, we will cave in to sin. Let’s be quick to seek the face of Jesus so that He might hear our regrets and disappointments about our sin and, in turn, help us to overcome our weaknesses so that we might glory in the cross of Jesus. Like in the case of Jeremiah, when God has cleaned us up and returned us to His glory, then He is able to use us again for His ultimate glory. Be encouraged friend, for when it seems like our ministry has become stagnant, we need to look no further than inside our own heart as we seek the face of the only One who could help us to overcome the challenges of this world and assume our rightful place with the Master.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, we come humbly at Your feet and seek Your holy presence in our lives. We need You to direct our every thought, word and deed, and we need Your constant reminder to always come to the cross when things seem out of control all around us. We need You, because we want to see You worshipped and adored by everyone all around us, and we personally tend to mess that up way too often. Please be our guide, our strength and our provider, so that You may be glorified in everything we do or say. AMEN!
SCRIPTURE FROM: Colossians 2:13-15 (TLB)
TEXT: 13 You were dead in sins, and your sinful desires were not yet cut away. Then he gave you a share in the very life of Christ, for he forgave all your sins, 14 and blotted out the charges proved against you, the list of his commandments which you had not obeyed. He took this list of sins and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s cross. 15 In this way God took away Satan’s power to accuse you of sin, and God openly displayed to the whole world Christ’s triumph at the cross where your sins were all taken away.
OBSERVATION: We are taught in God’s Word that who ever surrenders his/her life to Jesus Christ and ask for the forgiveness of their sin, WILL BE SAVED. But what does that truly mean? In our Scripture today, Paul explains this for us. Let’s understand this fully, so that our hearts might be overjoyed, and therefore happy because of the transformation, or change that occurs in our life when we commit ourselves to the lordship of Jesus Christ.
APPLICATION: I’m pretty sure that for those who have surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ, we knew that it was for the purpose of obedience to God’s call on our life, and also in accordance with God’s precious Word. But please reread the chosen Scripture for today again and be reminded that there were some deliberate acts by Jesus when we made our commitment: He made us a very integral part of His life; He forgave us of our sin (meaning that our sins are no longer remembered by Him); He wiped out all charges against us for our sin and disobedience of His commands; His sacrifice on the cross was not in vain, for Satan now sees that sacrifice when he looks for the sin in our lives. Friends, we, who know Jesus and have accepted Him as our Lord and Savior, we are a privileged people. We have a brand new start in life – a new life where Jesus stands in front of us and protects us as His very own! Will we still encounter problems and challenges? Yes we will, for as long as we tarry here on this earth, however we have our Protector, our Guide, our Stronghold, our Warrior, our comforter – the living God, the Creator of this world, standing front and center as He looks out for His own. We are indeed a privileged people. Children of the King of all kings! Do you fit into this description friend? Would you like to be included? Please read the tips I have provided in my Footnote and follow the simple steps to salvation in Jesus Christ. Life will never be the same for you!
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of salvation, given as a sacrifice through Your very own son, Jesus Christ. Thank You for accepting even me to be Your beloved son. Thank You for accepting my relatives and friends as they sought salvation. Thank You for being available, and willing to accept those who have rejected You and showed no sign of needing or wanting help. Lord, I pray that You may use my words today to touch the hearts of those who will read this blog. If they have never surrendered their lives to You and invited You to be Lord of their lives, may this be the day of salvation for them. The day they will realize the importance of having You front, center and in ultimate control of their lives. Only You can satisfy our deepest emotions and needs, and only You can save us from the critical sentence for our sins. Please speak to Your children again today Lord, especially those that I hold near and dear in my life, and those who will read this blog. AMEN!
SCRIPTURE FROM: Colossians 1:27-29 (TPT)
TEXT: 27 Living within you is the Christ who floods you with the expectation of glory! This mystery of Christ, embedded within us, becomes a heavenly treasure chest of hope filled with the riches of glory for his people, and God wants everyone to know it! 28–29 Christ is our message! We preach to awaken hearts and bring every person into the full understanding of truth. It has become my inspiration and passion in ministry to labor with a tireless intensity, with his power flowing through me, to present to every believer the revelation of being his perfect one in Jesus Christ.
OBSERVATION: Some do it for money, some for prestige, and others do it because of their ancestors being in the ministry, but the Word of God clearly tells us what God expects from our preaching and our teaching. We will look more fully into this, but I wonder if we are wasting our time if we preach or teach for any other reason? Think about this as you study this scripture and speak with God about it, will you?
APPLICATION: In schools, I believe that we teach with expectations of seeing our kids graduate with best possible grades, and therefore able to obtain good jobs to support themselves and their families, plus make this world a better place to live in. Paul gave us the reason that we preach and teach, so that we ensure that we keep our whole ministry focused on the ultimate goal. Friends, this advice will apply to each and every believer, for whether we carry the title of ‘preacher’ or ‘teacher’, we are reminded of what we should be looking for in a church, in a teaching class, or better still – portraying in our lives. In verse 28 we are told that Christ is the reason and the message that we preach/teach. However, for this to have its fullest impact on others, notice that Paul shared that this whole purpose has become his inspiration and his passion. In other words, if its inside of you to start with, then it will be revealed and evident in everything that you preach or teach. Notice also that Paul wanted to teach with intensity and such purpose that believers would desire a closer and more intimate walk with their Master. In other words, Paul was not looking for a name for himself, although that’s exactly what happened, but he spent his life ministering so that others might see Jesus and be drawn to Him, so that God would be glorified through His people as they surrendered their lives to Him. I believe that ministry requires the most unselfish person to declare its benefits, otherwise we may tend to leave the impression that its because of us, or something we said, or we could do, that would lead them to the Savior. I believe the best that we could do is to obediently lead the lost to Christ and leave them at His feet, for it is He that will save them, and His Word that will direct their paths and mature them to a point where they also will preach and teach Jesus! So in recap, let us conclude that we are merely a messenger, a servant, a sinner saved only by God’s grace, and all we could do is to share His glory with our friends. Keep self out of the equation as we try to connect unbelievers with the only One who could save them and deliver them from Satan’s doom. Let’s learn to let go, and let God have His way with His children, for their good and His glory!
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, Your Word declares that we are to live as You lived, and today we are reminded that we are to preach and/or teach in a way that would help others to see Jesus and know Him personally. Please help us to remove self out of the way, so that there are no hindrances for the child that Jesus is drawing to Himself. We are Your instruments Lord, use us for Your work that leads to Your glory. May Your kingdom come on earth, as it is in heaven. AMEN!
SCRIPTURE FROM: Ephesians 6:10-12 (TLB)
TEXT: 10 Last of all I want to remind you that your strength must come from the Lord’s mighty power within you. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand safe against all strategies and tricks of Satan. 12 For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against persons without bodies—the evil rulers of the unseen world, those mighty satanic beings and great evil princes of darkness who rule this world; and against huge numbers of wicked spirits in the spirit world.
OBSERVATION: Facing the same issue as we face today, Paul had some great advice on how to stand against, and overcome the strategies and tricks of Satan. This is still a very real problem today, so I would like for us to spend some time looking at this, knowing that there is help available to us.
APPLICATION: In verse 10 we are reminded of the source of our power to overcome Satan and his attacks. First of all, we must acknowledge that we do not personally have the strength to overcome Satan’s attacks, and that there is only One who does – Jesus Christ. We must therefore approach the throne in response to these attacks, and not to make things worse by adding our own worldly efforts to fight against the ‘evil one’. So as we place our faith in the Lord and ask Him for power to overcome, let us also put on the armor of God, as detailed beginning in Ephesians 6:10, and per God’s Holy Word, we will stand safe against the strategies and tricks of Satan. Friends this sounds like a storybook resolution to our challenges from the ‘evil one’, but may I encourage you to place your faith in our Lord Jesus. Not only will He save us from our sins and award us life eternal in Heaven with He and His Father, but this same Savior also has the power to heal, the wisdom to guide us through every challenge that may face us each day, but He also has all power over the ‘evil one’. Why would God do this for us? I believe, based on the Word of God, that we are the ‘apple of His eye’; we are His child; He demonstrated His love for sinners, like you and I, who stood by and watched Him being brutalized on the cross, yet He followed through on His sacrifice to show His love for us. This is the God who also promised us that He would deliver us from the ‘evil one’, and give us power to stand firm against the fierce arrows of all that he might send our way. Friends, this is the God that I present to you as the only One to help us overcome Satan. Do you know Him? Have you placed your faith and trust in Him? Have you trusted Him with your life, and therefore have the necessary confidence to believe that you could stand firm against Satan? Please reassess your belief system, and your faith. Be sure that you are anchored safe in the arms of Jesus.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father; Glorious Son of God; our Lord and Savior; thank You for watching over Your kids and being willing to listen to our frequent cries, often for the silliest things and perhaps things that may appear so insignificant to many. Lord, we have faith to believe that if something is important and concerning to us, then You make it a priority in helping us to overcome our concerns. Lord, we lift Your name on high, and we acknowledge that we can do nothing without Your power and direction in our lives. Thank You Jesus, that we have a Savior who loves us so! AMEN!
SCRIPTURE FROM: Philippians 4:5-7 (VOICE)
TEXT: 5 Keep your gentle nature so that all people will know what it looks like to walk in His footsteps. The Lord is ever present with us. 6 Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. 7 And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One.
OBSERVATION: Paul, a coworker and friend had worked alongside the Philippians, and had seen their struggles, weaknesses, and their needs and wants. Paul also heard from God that for his Philippian followers, or any of us today, to succeed in staying close to the Savior, of whom he preached and wrote about, we need to be reminded that it all begins, endures and ends with the relationship we develop with God. Let’s look into where and how this may help us today…
APPLICATION: Based on our distractions today, and our selfish desire for more personal time, things and belongings, I believe that we could identify with where the Philippians may have been in their life-standards. So placing ourselves squarely at Jesus’ feet, and listening intently to His precious Word that He provided for our growth and benefit, how might we grow from this scripture today? Friends, I believe that although we may frequent our respective churches and the many services and programs they have developed in order to enrich our lives here on earth, yet we tend to become engulfed in the wants and desires of this world. We tend to constantly want more, go more places and be the kind of person that our society looks on as ‘successful’. However, as a child of God, we surrendered our lives to the Savior so that His goodness, mercy and grace may be evident in our daily walk. So as we meditate on this scripture, I believe we must look deeply into all that Paul is teaching us, so that we may look more like Christ than anything this world has to offer. First of all, I believe that Paul is teaching about the importance of having a gentle spirit, so that people around us would know what a true son/daughter of God really looks like. Now as you meditate on that, you may ponder what do you need to change in your life. Friends, if you change something, it will most lightly be a change from one bad habit or character flaw, to another much like it. I believe that what Paul is teaching here, is that we surrender our will to that of our heavenly Father, and allow Him to change us from the inside out. It is only then that the world begins to see God in us. Notice some of the other things that we are to concentrate on: a). Don’t be anxious about anything – after all, if we allow God to take control, then we must depend on Him, and accept the good and the bad – all as part of His perfect will. And if that be the case, what’s the need in worrying? Let’s learn to let go, and let God! b). Pray about everything – When dealing with a child, we want them to run everything by us so we could be sure they make decisions and do things that align with our principles. If we truly want God to have full control of our lives, then we will follow the same principles that we expect of our children. Communicating with God is through prayer. Let’s make it commonplace in our lives. c). Thankfulness – It’s good to ask God for direction and help, but even better to celebrate in return, through expressing our thankfulness to Him and making it evident in our actions with others, that we are a thankful people. Friends, there is one huge thing that results from living a life dedicated to Jesus Christ – He fills us with a peace way beyond our wildest expectations. And Paul declares that our Savior watches over our hearts and minds – in other words: He controls the gateway, or the origination of our words and actions! I need this peace each and every day friends, how about you? It takes surrender to the Master, for we can’t do our own thing and expect Him to do His thing through us also.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, we are your masterpiece, for we were created in the image of God. I believe that you intended that to especially be in word and deed. We have lots that we could blame our failures on in these areas, but I believe it is more important that we cut to the chase and seek Your face so that we may be better aligned with Your will for our lives. Lord, please resume control of our lives, both for our peace and for Your glory. May this world be drawn to You because of what they see in us, and may they never be hindered in their walk with You, because of our weaknesses. AMEN!