Hein's Journal 2012 Collection
Greetings From Hein Jonker, a servant of GOD and of the Lord JESUS CHRIST, to his people from far and wide. Greetings. Dear friend, I pray you’ll find this journal a blessing to read, and I hope that some of these devotions will help you cope in good times and bad times. I pray these messages will cause you to draw near the one and only source of life, hope and peace, and that is JESUS CHRIST my King, Lord and Saviour. This journal is GOD’s authority in my life as I walked with him in his perfect Word during 2012. It contains a collection of my Bible Study Notes as GOD spoke to me through his Holy Word by the promting and conviction of the Holy Spirit. May I encourage you to read, pray and meditate on GOD’s Word (the Bible), but more importantly, do what it says. If you don’t have a Bible, let me know and I’ll send you one at no cost to you. Feel free to share this journal with friends, fellow Christians and more so with people who have not yet come to know JESUS as their personal Lord and Saviour. Yours in CHRIST JESUS
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Index Page 6 JESUS is Lord Faith Defined Finding Peace Taking Credit Witnessing Solutions Talents Pride Complain or Pray Your Future Idols a Loss Blaming GOD Marriage Focus on GOD
Page 9 Trust GOD Confession Living Faith Evil Strategy Busy First Step Victory Sin Depression Follow GOD Rebellion Covenant True Leader Fear
Page 7 Why Worry Godly Faith Trust GOD Suffering Gospel Miracles Turn to GOD Friends Change Take Action Attitude Time Willing to Teach Image of GOD
Page 10 Self-Sufficient Warning Focus Revenge Forbidden Things Choices Rejecting GOD Saved Daily Tasks Reputation Purpose
Page 8 Childlike Faith Criticism Peacemaking Protection Happiness or Joy Worship Responsibility Hurting Pride Disobedience Obedience Repent Discipline Success
Page 11 Hurt Neglect Disaster Complain A New Season Step Up Life’s Battles GOD’s Fight Character Being Holy GOD is Real Page 12 Stop It Loyalty Jealousy GOD First Stop Mighty Fortress Balance in Life What a Mess Consequences Is it Love? Our Children 3
Page 13 Set Free On your Own Grumbling Forgiving is Cheap Wisdom Vain Pursuit Fake Love Living Right Good Advice GOD can use it Page 14 False GOD Stop and Listen No Escape Prosper Explained Pray for Them Useless Money Is it Enough? Talk is Cheap Dishonesty Page 15
The Real Reason No Fear Listen and Obey Mutual Respect Wait and See Selfish Life Hidden Agenda Deep Faith Self-Sacrifice
More Faith Now is the Time True Friends My Shepherd Terrible Sin Search Me Lifted Up Spiritual War
Righteous Heart Take the Call Death can’t Wait Not me Lord Don’t even Try You are what you Eat Hopeless Panic Total Committment Keep the line Open
Index Page 18
Be Consistent Reach Out Not your Own Wait and See All about JESUS A New Life Sharing your Joy It’s not Easy
New Direction Letting Go Prepare the Way The Real You GOD is Best True Belief Excuses, Excuses
Salvation is Simple Healing Touch GOD’s Approval Answer the Call Positive Effect Thought Control
Love like GOD Temptation & Testing Plan not to Worry Don’t Judge; Forgive Judgment Day Yokes of Life Useless Soil
Reality Check An Atheist’s Prayer Let it Shine Caught in a Storm Workers Needed GOD before Family No Compromise
Page 24 Fear or Faith Children and Angels Speak Up Depression Terrible Mistake Prayer Priority
Follow Me Share your Faith Not too Late Doubt in Action Not an Option JESUS is Real
Forgiveness Needed Put Him Back Are you Ready? Live Responsibly Don’t ask Why The Door is Open
Love for JESUS Perfect Example GOD’s Timing Resources for Victory Wise Decisions Repent and be Baptized
Unity in CHRIST Wrothwhile Cost No Other Way A United Church GOD over Man
Page 26 It’ll cost You Worthless JESUS Cares The Right Faith Be Ready Pray, pray, pray Page 27
Adult Fantasies Binding the Idolatry GOD’s Grace Status and CHRIST It starts with a Lie Let Him Drive
Your Full Attention Are you Chicken? GOD’s Power Don’t Limit GOD Royalty through CHRIST
GOD’s Approval Focussed Prayer Broken by JESUS Not Enough CHRIST b 4 Religion Fit and Ready
You need to Go New Christians Created for a Purpose The Power of Multiplication Seek GOD’s Will
Page 29 Why Suffer Talents Wasted Watch your Actions Serving Others Love like JESUS JESUS is the Way Page 23 Eyes Up A Certain Future Life begins with JESUS What will it Take Page 30 JESUS is Joy An Empty Life Legalism Praising GOD Power of the Cross Mountains & Valleys Followers of CHRIST Cut it Out Victorious Freedom Worthwhile Commitment
Stick to the Truth Stay Away The Christian Life Prioritize you Fool Represent CHRIST
Wait on GOD Choose to Live Heroes for CHRIST Two sides of Christian Life A Christian or Not
Index Page 38
Salvation is for You JESUS Lives Keep at It Hope in CHRIST Faith Check
Knowing GOD GOD’s Fullness Speak in Love Willingness to Serve Horrible Person
Fullfillment in CHRIST New Clothes GOD chose First CHRIST will Come Persevering Faith
Questionable Activities Time Wasted is Time Lost Encourage Others Wealth and Happiness
Pleasure or GOD True Humility Keep Climbing Why Me? Disciplined by GOD
Page 43 Page 44 Page 45
Filled with JESUS What’s your Excuse I like you More Watch your Mouth
Page 47 Notepad
Valuable Web Links www.gotquestions.org www.dare2share.org www.gty.org www.christianitytoday.com www.olivetree.com www.alphasa.co.za www.bible.org.za www.kingjamesbibleonline.org
Grow Up Love your Wife Faith in Action Blood of CHRIST A Prayer Request
Word of Thanks To my friends and fellow believers in our Lord JESUS CHRIST, thank you for your words of encouragement, prayers and support in this last year. May GOD bless you as you serve him, allowing him to equip you to be witnesses in more ways you can ever imagine. Don’t hold back, do not be afraid, but let GOD empower you and never be ashamed of the Gospel of JESUS CHIRST. Proclaim it boldly! Lord, thank you for walking me through your perfect Word this year. May your Word be a blessing to those and my you be glorified through it all. I thank you Father for your grace and wisdom, for your hand of protection and guidance over me as I shared your Word in this little Journal. Father, please give me your direction and purpose for the year ahead so I may serve you and your people more effectively in CHIRST JESUS, my Lord and Saviour - my King! And all GOD’s people say: Amen!
Less than the Best Life or Death Love the Sinner Transformed Life Eternity with GOD
Page 46 Keep me Away Final Blessing Water of Life 5
COMPLAIN OR PRAY Some problems can be solved by careful thought or by rearranging our priorities. Some can be solved by discussion and good counsel. But some problems can be solved only by prayer. We should make a determined effort to pray when we feel like complaining because complaining only raises our level of stress. Prayer quiets our thoughts and emotions, and prepares us to listen.
JESUS IS LORD If I know JESUS as my personal Lord and Saviour, I don’t have to ask why I am in the predicament I’m in. It’s quite sufficient just to know that He is Lord, that nothing can happen without His permission, and that ultimately I will succeed. FAITH DEFINED We often hear people say, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” That’s not faith, that’s walking by sight. What we should be saying is, “I see it because I believe it.”
YOUR FUTURE By sunrise tomorrow, our actions of today will have become part of the past, yet they will already have begun to shape the future. What actions can you choose or avoid that will positively shape your future?
FINDING PEACE Too often we complicate faith with manmade rules, regulations, and requirements. Are you frustrated and burned out from trying hard to please GOD? Concentrate on His real requirements and find peace. Respect GOD, follow Him, love Him, serve Him, and obey Him.
IDOLS A LOSS An idol is anything that takes GOD’s place in a person’s life. Some people invest all their energy in pursuing money, success, possessions, or a career. If these idols are taken away, only an empty shell is left. The only way to protect yourself against such loss is to invest your life in the living GOD, whom you can never lose.
TAKING CREDIT We should be careful to take honour for ourselves; it is a form of stealing from GOD. Don’t be silent when you know you should be giving glory and credit to GOD.
BLAMING GOD People constantly blame GOD for their selfinduced problems. How do you respond to the unpleasant results of your own choices? Where do you fix the blame? Instead of blaming GOD, look for ways to grow through your failures.
WITNESSING One secret of effective witnessing is to recognise opportunities to relate GOD to the other person’s experience, and when the opportunity arises, we must have the courage to speak. Are you an effective witness for CHRIST?
MARRIAGE Be a witness to the depth of GOD’s love for you by keeping your marriage happy and strong. Remain faithful in body and in mind. Pray for your spouse today.
SOLUTIONS In a tough situation, are you usually concerned first about yourself? Consider the person (other than yourself) most affected by the problem, and you will be more likely to find a solution for it.
FOCUS ON GOD Your situation may appear humanly impossible. Right now you may feel unable to see through your troubles. Focus instead on GOD, and trust Him for the way out. That is all He needs to begin His work in you.
TALENTS All of us have special skills. GOD wants to fill us with his Spirit so we will use those skills for his glory. Think about your special talents and abilities. What ways could you use them for GOD’s work in this world? As you focus on helping and giving to others, GOD will show you the best ways to do it and give you wisdom to accomplish the task. PRIDE Don’t let your reaction (pride) to the way of faith keep you from the cure (JESUS) you need the most. 6
ignore GOD’s voice, eventually you will be unable to hear it at all. I wasted almost 25 years of mine before turning to JESUS, don’t make the same mistake.
WHY WORRY 1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear,” teaches us that either we do not love GOD as we should, or we do not believe Him when He says that He loves us. Worry comes from human interference with GOD’s plan. You cannot change the past, but you ruin a perfectly good present by worrying about the future. Worry is interest paid on trouble before it is due. Why worry when you can pray?
FRIENDS Do your friends build up your faith, or do they tear it down? True friends should help you to draw closer to GOD, not hinder your relationship with Him. What type of friends do you have? If CHRIST JESUS is not in you it doesn’t really matter, does it?
GODLY FAITH Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word (Bible) of GOD.” Our faith will not be increased by doing good works, but by getting close to GOD. If you want to have faith in GOD, spend time with GOD (Bible reading and Prayer). You will find that you become like the Person that you spend time with.
CHANGE Ask yourself how you should change so you’re living as GOD wants. Knowing and meditating on GOD’s Word are the first steps toward applying it to your everyday life. If you want to follow GOD more closely, you must know what He says. TAKE ACTION Prayer must have a vital place in our lives, but there is also a place for action. Sometimes we know what to do, but we pray for more guidance as an excuse to postpone doing it. If we know what we should do, then it is time to get moving.
TRUST GOD We often build up events in our minds and then panic over what might go wrong. GOD does not ask us to go where he has not provided the means to help. Go where He leads, trusting Him to supply courage, confidence, and resources at the right moment.
ATTITUDE How easy it is to grumble and complain too quickly, only to be embarrassed by GOD’s help! We must be patient for GOD’s kindness and help. Don’t let a negative attitude erode your trust in GOD.
SUFFERING Sometimes hardship comes as a result of obeying GOD. Are you following GOD but still suffering, or suffering even worse than before? If your life is miserable, don’t assume you have fallen out of GOD’s favour. You may be suffering for doing good in an evil world.
TIME It is so easy to let work, family responsibilities, and recreation crowd our schedules so tightly that we don’t take time to acknowledge (worship) GOD in our lives. Carefully guard your time with GOD. Don’t waste your life!
GOSPEL Francis of Assisi, a great man of GOD, once said “We must preach the Gospel at all costs and, only if we really have to, use words.” A call to real Christians, what is the Gospel costing us? Are we living Luke 1:79 or will it cost us too much?
WILLING TO TEACH Whenever we help others through hardship or to resolve conflict, we should also look for opportunities to teach about GOD. Teach them about GOD’s Law and His unfailing faithfulness.
MIRACLES Although miracles can help us believe, it is dangerous to rely on them alone. Instead let the Word of GOD be the basis of your faith. No miracle from GOD would support any message that is different to the teachings of His Word. TURN TO GOD After a lifetime of resisting GOD, you may find it impossible to turn to Him. Don’t wait until just the right time before turning to GOD. Do it now while you still have a chance. If you continue to
IMAGE OF GOD What is your favourite image of GOD? Is it Biblical? Is it adequate? Do you need to destroy it in order to worship the one true GOD who delivered you from bondage to sin? And yet, to you who is JESUS; I wonder do you really know Him? 7
RESPONSIBILITY Increased opportunity brings increased responsibility. As JESUS said: “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded.” - Luke 12:48How much greater is our responsibility to obey and serve GOD; we have the whole Bible, and we know GOD’s Son, JESUS CHRIST. Stop mocking your Creator!
CHILDLIKE FAITH As children we used to trust and believe anything we were told. Children are able to trust and believe in GOD without doubts or reservations. As we get older, many of us find this more and more difficult to do. Ask GOD to give you childlike faith, removing any barriers to having a closer walk with Him. Get in touch with this childlike quality in yourself so that you can be more expressive.
HURTING PRIDE We sometimes strike out at blameless people who get in our way because we are embarrassed or our pride is hurt. Lashing out at others can be a sign that something is wrong with us. Don’t allow your own hurt pride to lead you to hurt others.
CRITICISM Before criticising someone else, we need to pause long enough to discover our own motives. Failing to do this can bring disastrous results. The easiest way to raise your own status is to bring someone else down. Are you willing to question your motives before you offer criticism?
DISOBEDIENCE Disobedience comes from an act of the will (my way), not a lack of knowledge. Through GOD’s Word we know enough about Him to be saved by faith and to serve Him. We must not use the limitation of our knowledge as an excuse to reject His claim on our life.
PEACEMAKING Peace-making is not always popular. Some people prefer to fight for what they ‘believe’ in. Peacemaking is GOD’s way, so we should carefully and prayerfully attempt to be peacemakers.
OBEDIENCE Have you ever said, “I would obey GOD if ...”. Whatever your excuses are, they are unacceptable. GOD’s laws written in the Bible are clearly evident in the world around us. Obeying them is reasonable, sensible, and beneficial. The most difficult part of obeying GOD’s law is simply deciding to start now. Or are you already thinking of another excuse?
PROTECTION We trust the creators of our bikes & cars with our lives; why is it so difficult to trust the Creator of the universe with the same thing? GOD created you and I, and He promises to guard your life no matter what you are facing. Today, trust the allpowerful Creator, let there be less of you in your life and more of Him.
REPENT We are stubborn and rebellious by nature. Throughout our lives we struggle with sin. Repentance once a month or once a week is not enough. We must constantly turn from our sin to GOD and let Him, in His mercy, save us.
HAPPINESS OR JOY Happiness is temporary because it is based on external circumstances, but joy is lasting because it is based on GOD’s presence within us. As we contemplate His daily presence, we will find contentment. As we understand the future He has for us, we will experience joy. Don’t base your life on circumstances, but on GOD.
DISCIPLINE When you experience the sting of GOD’s discipline, don’t turn away in anger, embarrassment or resentment. Instead turn to GOD with love, openness and a desire to do better.
WORSHIP Going to GOD’s house (Church) can be a drag or a joy. We may find worship a bore if we have unconfessed sin or if our love for GOD has cooled. But if we are close to GOD and enjoy His presence, we will be eager to worship and praise Him. Our attitude toward GOD will determine our view of worship. Have you checked your heart lately?
SUCCESS The standard for success, however, is not to be set by the society we live in but by GOD’s Word. We must adjust our minds to GOD’s way of thinking in order to see His standard for success. Be strong and courageous, obey GOD, and constantly read and study GOD’s Word, trusting Him always.
TRUST GOD Each one of us will face dilemmas at one time or another. We may feel that there is no perfect solution to our problem. Fortunately GOD does not demand that our judgment be in all situations. He simply asks us to put our trust in Him and to do the best we know how.
SIN Our actions affect more people than just ourselves. Beware of the temptation to justify your actions by saying, “They are too small or too personal to hurt anyone.” Sin has drastic consequences, so we should take drastic measures to avoid it.
CONFESSION What is confession? To confess our sin is to agree with GOD, acknowledging that He is right to declare what we have done as sinful, and that we are wrong to desire or to do it. It is to affirm our intention of abandoning that sin in order to follow Him more faithfully.
DEPRESSION Depression is one of the most common emotional ailments. Read the Bible and focus your thoughts on GOD’s ability to help you rather than on your inability to help yourself. FOLLOW GOD GOD is extremely loving and patient with us and our sinful ways. Do not be confused by His patience with us as approval to our sin. Beware of demanding your own way because eventually you may get it, along with all its painful consequences. Instead, make every effort to follow GOD wholeheartedly.
LIVING FAITH If we boldly live out our faith in CHRIST, the light of our lives will expose the sinfulness of others; the truth piercing their souls. Some will submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit and others becoming angry and hardened in their hatred of the truth that is JESUS.
REBELLION It’s easy to slip into a quiet rebellion, going about life in your own way. But the time will come when you have to choose who or what will control you. Will it be GOD, your own limited personality, or another imperfect substitute? Talk is cheap. It is easy to say we will follow GOD, but it is much more important to live like it.
EVIL STRATEGY Satan first encourages doubt with the mind, second desire with the heart, and third disobedience with the will. Be awake, very awake! BUSY (Bent Under Satan’s Yoke) Before you become too busy with your daily schedule, take time to focus on what GOD wants from all your activities. Knowing what GOD has said before you rush into your day can help you avoid foolish mistakes.
COVENANT Some confuse it with the word ‘contract’, but it is not a bargain struck between two parties of equal power and authority. A covenant is made entirely by one party (GOD) to bless the other (us). We only have two choices: accept the Ts & Cs or reject them.
FIRST STEP Often life is like crossing a river with no bridge. Yes, often GOD provides no solution to our problems until we trust Him and move ahead with what we know we should do. What are the rivers or obstacles in your life? In obedience to GOD, take that first step.
TRUE LEADER You are a leader at work, at home, in your Church and in more ways you realise. As a leader, faithfully serving the LORD JESUS, your main role is to encourage people to obey GOD. We should not forget about the spiritual condition of those being led. A true leader is concerned for persons, not just success.
VICTORY In our battles with sin in our lives, we have the assurance that the war has already been won. We can overcome the power of sin and Satan through the power of CHRIST and have victory in JESUS who saved us. Cry out to him today!
FEAR What a perfect waste of time! Fear often makes us wait for more confirmation (a sign, a miracle) when we should be taking action. Visible signs are unnecessary if they only confirm what we already know is true.
REJECTING GOD Most people reject GOD’s right way of living. People replace the true worship of GOD with a homemade version of worship. Justice is soon replaced by revenge and chaos which leads to confusion and destruction. Anyone who has not submitted to GOD will end up doing whatever seems right at the time. To know what is really right and to have the strength to do it, we need to draw closer to GOD and his Word.
SELF-SUFFICIENT We must recognise the danger of attempting to do things in our own strength. Yes, even lifting that coffee mug to your mouth is not possible if GOD doesn’t let you. We can be confident of overcoming life’s challenges and temptations only if we put our confidence in GOD and not ourselves. WARNING Our suffering is not caused by GOD, but it is a result from the fact that we ignore GOD, our Judge and Ruler. What will it take for you to follow GOD? The warnings in GOD’s Word are clear: if we continue to harden our hearts against GOD, we can expect even more suffering and a huge welcoming party from Satan.
SAVED A picture of how I came to faith in CHRIST. I began with no hope and a rebellious alien with no part in the Kingdom of GOD. Then as I risked everything by putting my faith in CHRIST, GOD saved me, forgave me, rebuilt my life (and He is still busy), and gave me blessings that will last through eternity. You too can experience the same freedom! You too can be saved today!
FOCUS Severe depression often follows great achievements, so don’t be surprised if you feel drained after a personal victory. During this time don’t be tempted to think that GOD owes you for your efforts. It was His strength that gave you victory. Focus your attitudes, actions and words on GOD instead of yourself.
DAILY TASKS What is your attitude when the task you have been given is not up to your true potential? The task at hand may be all you can do, or it may be the work GOD wants you to do, or it may be a test of your character that can open up new doors of opportunity. As you go about your tasks today, GOD is working in your life in ways you may not even notice. Trust Him and work by faith.
REVENGE Revenge is an uncontrollable monster. Each act of retaliation brings another (I did it to them because they did it to me). It is a boomerang that cannot be thrown without a cost to the thrower. The revenge cycle can be stopped only by forgiveness. Imagine if JESUS had to take revenge, where would it have left Him or us?
REPUTATION Your reputation is formed by the people who watch you at work, in your club, in town, at home, in church. A good reputation comes by consistently living out the qualities you believe in, no matter what group of people or surroundings you are in. Seek a Christ-like reputation for integrity one day at a time. Read Matthew 5:16
FORBIDDEN THINGS GOD forbids us to do certain things because He wants to keep us from self-destruction. Next time you are drawn to a forbidden physical or emotional pleasure, remind yourself that its consequences might be suffering and separation from the GOD who is trying to help you.
PURPOSE We will not know the full purpose and importance of our lives until we are able to look back from the perspective of eternity. We must make our choices with GOD’s eternal values in mind. Taking moral short-cuts and living for short-term pleasures are not good ways to move forward. Live in faithfulness to GOD, knowing that the significance of your life will extend way beyond your lifetime.
CHOICES How many times do we allow ourselves to be deceived by flattery and give in to temptation and wrong beliefs? Our choices carry consequences! Samson did not choose to be captured, but he chose to be lied to and deceived by Delilah, and he could not escape the consequences of his decision. Avoid falling prey to deceit by asking GOD to help you distinguish between deception and truth. 10
rather than your feelings of adequacy. Your Father in heaven knows you better than you do (He created you), trust Him as He prepares you for victory in CHRIST JESUS.
HURT Although we cannot keep others from unjustly criticizing us, we can choose how we will react to their hurtful words. Rather than dwelling upon our problems, we can enjoy the loving relationships GOD has given us. This way, we can exchange self-pity for hope. Place your hope in the Lord JESUS, make him No. 1 and he will lift you up.
LIFE’s BATTLES Have you ever felt surrounded by the “enemy” or faced overwhelming odds? GOD is never intimidated by the size or complexity of a problem. With him, there are always enough resources to resist the pressures and win the battles. If GOD has called you to action, then bravely commit what resources you have to GOD and rely in him to lead you to victory.
NEGLECT Don’t let your desire to do GOD’s work cause you to neglect your family. If you do, your mission may degenerate into a quest for personal importance, and your family will suffer the consequences of your neglect. But, don’t use this as an excuse to be disobedient to GOD’s Word, GOD’s work starts at home.
GOD’s FIGHT Criticism shouldn’t stop you from doing what is right. People may try to discourage you with negative comments or mockery, but continue to do what is right. By doing so, you will be pleasing GOD, whose opinion matters most. With GOD fighting for you, there is no reason to wait.
DISASTER Often we let other people’s values and actions dictate our attitudes and behaviour. Have you ever made a wrong choice because you wanted to be like the other guy? Be careful that the values of your friends or “heroes” don’t pull you away from what GOD says is right. When GOD’s people want to be like unbelievers, they are heading for spiritual disaster. Make JESUS your best friend and make Him No. 1 in your life.
CHARACTER Too many of us spend hours a week maintaining our outward appearance; we should do even more to develop our inner character. While everyone can see your face, only you and GOD know what your heart really looks like. What steps are you taking to improve your heart’s attitude? GOD judges by faith and character, not appearances.
COMPLAIN How easy it is for us to complain about our problems, while we refuse to act, change, and to do what GOD requires. Do you ever feel as if GOD has abandoned you? Check to see if there is anything he has already told you to do. You may not receive new guidance from GOD until you have acted on his previous instructions. Why complain if you can pray, listen and obey?
BEING HOLY A holy life is how you live from Monday to Saturday and not just what you do on Sunday. GOD is looking not just for clean people, but for holy people. That is a big difference and until you become a Christian you never even think of becoming holy; you just think of being good - and that is not good enough.
A NEW SEASON Often we think that events just happen to us. It is important to look at all situations as potential events designed to shape our lives. Think of all the good and bad circumstances that have affected you lately. Can you see GOD’s purpose in them? Perhaps he is building a certain quality in you or leading you to serve him in a new area. STEP UP Often we hide from important responsibilities because we are afraid of failure, afraid of what others will think or say, or perhaps unsure about how to proceed. Prepare now to step up to your future responsibilities. Count on GOD’s provision
GOD IS REAL Our lives are cluttered with books of life and selfempowerment, but the authors never come with us to help us follow these rules. Would it help if you prayed to these authors? NO! God not only provides the rules and guidelines through his Word (the Bible), but will come with us each day to strengthen us so that we can live according to those rules. Just ask him and respond in obedience. GOD always answers earnest prayer. He is real! 11
device, or a secure job; no one can predict (horoscopes and witchcraft) what tomorrow may bring. Our relationship with GOD through CHRIST JESUS is the only security that cannot be taken away, our only hope.
STOP IT We may announce publicly that we denounce sin, but if our hearts don’t change, the sin will return. To change your heart you have to let GOD in and allow him to change you from the inside out. “Knowing what is right and condemning what is wrong do not take the place of doing what is right.” GOD alone can change you, through CHRIST JESUS, only if you stop and let him. And if you don’t, you will destroy yourself. Fact!
BALANCE IN LIFE There must be a balance in life between our actions and our faith in GOD. We should do what we can to figure out the best ways to use our resources knowing that the outcome is in GOD’s hands. We should obey GOD in everything we do, while at the same time trusting GOD for victory through CHRIST JESUS.
LOYALTY The conflicting demands of our relationships challenge us at times. If we try to settle these conflicts only at a human level, we will be always dealing with a sense of betrayal. But if we communicate to our friends that our ultimate loyalty is to GOD and the truth in his Word, the Bible, light will be brought to our decisions and our choices will be much clearer.
WHAT A MESS Once sin gets started it is difficult to stop. The deeper the mess, the less we want to admit having caused it. It’s much easier to stop sliding down a hill when you are near the top than when you are halfway down. The best solution is to stop sin before it starts. Choose to honour GOD and not your feelings.
JEALOUSY It may not seem like a major sin, but in reality, it is one step short of murder. Jealousy starts as you resent someone, then it manifests itself in your seeking ways to harm that person in word or action. Beware of letting jealousy get a foothold in your life, it will destroy you.
CONSEQUENCES Sometimes an apology is not enough. When GOD forgives us and restores our relationship with him, he doesn’t eliminate all the consequences of our wrong-doing. We may be tempted to say, “If this is wrong, I can always apologise to GOD”, but we must remember that we may set into motion events with irreversible consequences.
GOD FIRST Pressure from a group of friends can be deadly. No, you are not a coward, take courage and follow GOD instead realizing that you can’t do wrong and expect GOD’s approval. Don’t compromise your moral standards by giving in to group pressure or taking the easy way out. Always put GOD first and only then will he approve and bless your actions.
IS IT LOVE? Love and lust are very different. Love is patient; lust requires immediate satisfaction. Love is kind; lust is harsh. Love does not demand its own way; lust does. Lust may feel like love at first, but when physically expressed, it results in self-disgust and hatred of the other person. If you just can’t wait, what you feel is not love.
STOP We may make a public announcement of denouncing sin, but if our hearts do not change, the sin will return. To change your heart you have to let GOD in and allow him to change you from the inside out. Knowing what is right and condemning what is wrong do not take the place of doing what is right. GOD alone can change you, through CHRIST JESUS, only if you stop and let him. And if you don’t you will destroy yourself. MIGHTY FORTRESS Only in GOD are we truly safe and secure. Anything else is false security and hope. Whether you are surrounded by steel bars, a comfortable home, protected by a security company or
OUR CHILDREN We must guard our hearts, as parents, against sin and rebellion. Even if our children are raised in church, we must teach and be parents of great character and obedience to GOD. Whenever possible, we must break cycles of lust, hatred and rebellion. To do so, we must stay involved in guiding our children’s lives while they are still under our care.
SET FREE Times will come where people will speak against you or even curse you for no solid reason. Maintaining your composure in the face of unjustified criticism can be a trying experience and an emotional drain. If you can’t stop the criticism, it is best just to ignore it. Remember that GOD knows what you are enduring, and he will set you free if you are in the right.
FAKE LOVE Love and kindness are important character qualities. Both involve actions as well as attitudes. A loving person not only feels love, he or she also acts loyally and responsibly. A kind person works for justice for others. Thoughts and words are not enough; our lives reveal whether we are truly loving and kind. Do your actions measure up to your attitudes?
ON YOUR OWN We face disastrous results if we think we have a source of direction in ourselves. Success and power are self-destructive without GOD’s guidance. Only GOD can give the direction we need, and that is done through his Word, the Bible. He is willing to be personally present in the lives of those who admit their need for him. Deny this fact and you are on your own; good luck!
LIVING RIGHT Wealth does not prove that a person is living rightly before GOD, and poverty does not indicate sin. In fact, greater evidence that a person is living for GOD is the presence of suffering and persecution. The most important goal in living is not earthly, but heavenly. Psalm 127 says, “Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labour in vain.” How is your “house”, your life; are you building it or is GOD in control?
GRUMBLING The general problem with some of us is ‘grumbling’. You need no talent to grumble, you need no brains to grumble, you need no character to grumble, you need no self-denial to setup the grumbling business. It is one of the easiest things in the world to do. Are you a grumbler or a believer?
GOOD ADVICE When faced with an overwhelming situation which requires good and sound advice, you might want to consult someone older or close to you; someone you can trust. Weigh your options but be certain to consult the ultimate Counsellor through his Word and prayer focussing on the outcome rather than the solution. If the outcome is good in GOD’s sight he will provide the solution. Proverbs 12:1 says “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.”
FORGIVING IS CHEAP Sometimes forgiving a personal attack shows more strength than lashing out in revenge. Trying to prove your power and authority often proves only your fear and self-doubt. Forgiving is a whole lot cheaper than taking revenge. Revenge takes time, resources and could cost you your life, but forgiveness only requires love.
GOD CAN USE IT In life we often come to a point where we feel inadequate or what we have is insufficient to serve GOD with. “How can GOD possibly use me, I have nothing to offer!” Don’t, please don’t let Satan use this to stop you from serving the LORD; instead use what little you have and in obedience and prayer to your FATHER, give it to GOD and allow him to multiply your gifts, talents or a simple loaf of bread in ways only he can. Trust him; you have nothing else to lose.
WISDOM We should not ask GOD to do for us what he wants to do through us. Instead we should ask GOD to give us the wisdom to know what to do and the courage to follow through on it. Wisdom is both the ability to discern what is best and the strength of character to act upon that knowledge. VAIN PURSUIT Security and contentment are found only in a personal relationship with GOD. The contentment we find in the opportunities and successes of this life only last for a while. The more we expect our successes to last, the more quickly they are gone. Be sure to balance your pursuit of life’s possibilities with reliable fulfillment of your
FALSE GOD Power, status, appearance or material possessions can become our gods if we devote our lives to them. But when we reach times of crisis and desperately call out to these gods or resources, there will only be silence. They cannot offer true answers, guidance, and wisdom. If we just drift along with this mind-set, we will someday discover that we have been worshiping a false god - ourselves.
USELESS MONEY GOD’s favour cannot be purchased. Our money is useless when we face death. No matter how much wealth we accumulate in this life, it will all evaporate when we stand before GOD, our Creator. Only GOD can give and take away. Our faith in JESUS CHRIST will save us, not our bank accounts. Accept GOD’s free gift of life and through faithful obedience trust him with the rest.
STOP AND LISTEN To look for GOD only in something big (rallies, churches, conferences, highly visible leaders) could cause you to miss him because GOD is often found gently whispering in the quietness of a humbled heart. Are you listening for GOD? Step back from the noise and activity of your busy life and listen humbly and quietly for his guidance. It may come when you least expect it.
IS IT ENOUGH? When we aren’t sure if we’ve gone far enough in correcting our actions, we can ask: 1) Does the Bible prohibit this action? 2) Does this action take me from Loving, worshipping, or serving GOD? 3) Does it make me a slave? 4) Does it bring out the best in me, consistent with GOD’s purpose? 5) Does it benefit other believers? You see, it’s not over until GOD stops it; it is not enough until GOD blesses it. Press on!
NO ESCAPE Where do you live and why? Where are you from and have you left on good terms? Sometimes people try to escape reality by disguising themselves; changing jobs, moving to a new town, even changing spouses. But GOD sees and evaluates our motives, any attempted disguise is futile. The same goes for sin; you can’t disguise or hide it, GOD will punish sin - in your life or next generation. “The sons will pay for the sins of their fathers.”
TALK IS CHEAP When we realise what terrible state our religious lives are in, we should do something about it. It is not enough to say we believe what is right; we must respond with action, doing what faith requires. This is what James was saying when he wrote, “faith without deeds is useless” (James 2:20). This means acting differently at home, school, work and church. Simply talking about obedience is not enough.
PROSPER EXPLAINED GOD tells us to be strong, courageous and careful to obey his commands. If we do this GOD will prosper us. The word ‘prosper’ has been misunderstood over the years and still is. It does not mean ‘wealthy’, and those claiming that the Bible promises financial rewards are mistaken. It means that we will achieve what we set out to achieve in GOD’s name. Let us serve the LORD with a pure heart and with the right motives in mind! PRAY FOR THEM Making fun of religious leaders has been a popular sport over the years. When we crack jokes about them we not only mock the person, but the spiritual message too. It’s not to say we should approve of the sin some leaders commit, but instead we need to pray for them, not laugh at them. True leaders, those who follow GOD, need to be heard with respect and encouraged in their ministry. Add your Pastor to your prayer
DISHONESTY This is a difficult sin to avoid. It is easy to cheat if we think no one else is looking. But dishonesty affects the very core of a person. It makes him untrustworthy and untrusting. It eventually makes him unable to know himself or relate to others. Don’t take dishonesty lightly. Even the smallest portion of dishonesty contains enough of the poison of deceit to kill your spiritual life. If there is any dishonesty in your life, ask GOD remove it quickly.
THE REAL REASON People can find an excuse for doing almost anything, but GOD looks behind the excuses to the motives of the heart. We often have to make choices in areas where the right action is difficult to discern. We can help ourselves make such decisions by trying to identify our motives first and then asking, “Would GOD be pleased with my real reasons for doing this?” GOD is not pleased when we do good deeds only to receive something in return.
SELFISH LIFE “Save your own skin” and “Watch out for number one” are mottoes that reflect our world’s selfish outlook on life. Do you try to save yourself by remaining silent rather than standing up for what is right? When it is within our reach to save others, we must do so. Don’t withdraw, behave selfishly, or wait for GOD to fix everything. Instead, ask GOD for his direction, and act! GOD may have placed you where you are “for such a time as this.”
NO FEAR When we allow our fears to rule us, we make fear more powerful than GOD. Is there a task GOD wants you to do, but fear is holding you back? GOD is greater than all your fears. Recognising why you are afraid is the first step in committing it to GOD. Realize that if GOD has called you to a task, he will help you accomplish it. Knowing that GOD is behind your task is the best incentive to move ahead in the face of fear and opposition.
HIDDEN AGENDA Money can buy success and power but not respect -- respect is earned. Careful now, the lust for popularity can become an obsession to a point where your desire for approval, applause and popularity drive you to immoral actions. Ask yourself, “Do I desire to control others?”, “Am I threatened when others don’t appreciate me as I think they should?”, “Do I want revenge when my pride is attacked?” Confess these to GOD, and ask him to replace it with an attitude of forgiveness. And if you don’t, GOD’s justice will settle the matter.
LISTEN AND OBEY Because we hear or read the Bible so often, we can become dulled to its words and immune to its teachings. Instead, we should listen carefully to every verse and ask the Holy Spirit to help us answer these questions: “How does this apply to my life?”, “What should I do with this knowledge?”, “How should my life change?”. We must do something about what we have learned if it is to have real significance for our lives.
DEEP FAITH All of us have suffered setbacks, tragedies and sorrows; most still do and will again. In our tests and trials, when our situations look hopeless, GOD expects us to build our faith based on the confidence that his ultimate purpose will come to pass. Experience life one day at a time and trust GOD no matter what. The next time you ‘hit a wall’, respond not by asking “Why me Lord?” but instead “Use me Lord!”
MUTUAL RESPECT Respect between men and women come from mutual regard and appreciation for each other as those created in GOD’s image, not from some rules, regulations or orders. Forced obedience is a poor substitute for the love and respect wives and husbands should have for each other. It takes hard work, dedication and sincere love to earn respect. How hard are you trying to earn respect from your spouse? WAIT AND SEE No human effort could upset GOD’s plan to send JESUS the Messiah to earth as a Jew. If you are changing jobs, position, or location and can’t see GOD’s purpose in your situation, understand that GOD is in control. He may be placing you in a position so you can help when the time comes. All you have to do is wait patiently and eager to serve when GOD opens that window of opportunity; GOD will use you.
SELF SACRIFICE There are times when a friend hits rock-bottom in life, truly in need of our compassion and unselfish giving of our time and resources. No, I’m not talking about money but instead refer to the need of crying with them, feeling sad or experiencing the sorrow with them. Sometimes our friends just need that shoulder or embrace of love and compassion, through CHRIST JESUS that is in us, to stand up take hold and push through their wall of despair and sorrow. Be sensitive to your friend’s needs and feelings, he needs you more than you might realize.
repentance will he forgive you and restore your relationship with him. Do you genuinely intend to stop? GOD wants a broken spirit and a pure heart.
MORE FAITH Faith in GOD does not guarantee personal prosperity, and lack of faith does not guarantee troubles in this life. If these were true, people would believe in GOD simply to get rich. The reasons for our suffering we cannot always understand but it is Satan’s strategy to get us to doubt GOD at exactly this time; when we are at our weakest. If we always knew why we were suffering, our faith would have no room to grow.
SEARCH ME We all have sin in our lives! How are we to recognise sin unless GOD points it out? When GOD shows us, we can confess and turn away from it, and be forgiven. David says Psalm 139:2324 “Search me, O GOD, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” This is my prayer every day; make it yours too.
NOW IS THE TIME Waiting for perfect conditions will mean laziness. This practical insight is especially applicable to our spiritual life. If we wait for the perfect time and place for personal Bible reading, we will never begin. If we wait for a perfect church, we will never join. If we wait for the perfect ministry, we will never serve. Take steps now to grow spiritually. Don’t wait for conditions that may never exist, the longer you wait or play with GOD’s timing the further you’ll drift from your only Life-Source that is JESUS. Don’t waste your life!
LIFTED UP At times our problems seem more than we can bear, and we wonder how we can go on. At this bleak intersection of life’s road, are you ready to ‘Stop’ or are you pointing toward the LORD, the great burden-bearer? GOD alone is able to lift you up, he is all that we are not. I’m leaving my life in someone’s hands who knows what he’s doing; my Father! If you are bending under a burden and feel that you are about to fall, turn to GOD for help; he WILL lift you up and carry you and your load. Praise you Lord!
TRUE FRIENDS Our friends and associates can have a profound influence on us, often in very subtle ways. If we insist on friendships with those who mock (verbally or in their lifestyle) what GOD considers important, we might sin by adopting the same attitude and become indifferent to GOD’s will. You become a mocker too. Do your friends build up your faith, or do they tear it down? True friends should help you draw closer to GOD and not hinder your relationship with him.
SPIRITUAL WAR A timid, untrained army is no match for hell’s terrorists! No, we must get into spiritual shape, pick up our armour, and go to the battlefield. The destiny of humanity hangs in the balance. To the Christian Warriors, here are your charges:1. Get under authority - submission2. Get on fire for the cause - passion3. Be prepared for warfare discipline4. Believe you can win - vision5. Know your weapons - power6. Go to the next level excellence “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle” - Sun Tzu (The Art of War). This is true of spiritual warfare. We must have a healthy recognition and knowledge of our enemy combined with a thorough knowledge of our own identity.
MY SHEPHERD Death casts a scary shadow over us because we are completely helpless against it. We can fight pain, suffering, disease or injury, but our strength and courage will not stand against death. It has the final say. Only the GOD of life can walk with us through the valley of death and bring us safely to the other side. He is the Shepherd! Because of this uncertain life, we should follow him who offers us eternal comfort. TERRIBLE SIN No sin is too great to be forgiven! Do you feel that you have done something terrible? Do you experience a sense of distance or guilt that is affecting your relationship with GOD? Reading Psalm 51 will help you identify and rectify sin in your life and through confession to GOD and
everyone else turns away. In a time of darkness and sin, genuine faith shines most brightly. For those rejecting GOD and his Word; stay the course and see where you end up.
RIGHTEOUS HEART Our heart (our feelings of love and desires) dictates to a great extent how we live because we always find time to do what we enjoy. Put boundaries on your desires: don’t go after everything you see. Look straight ahead, keep your eyes fixed on your goal, and don’t get sidetracked on detours that lead to sin. This is not a once-off step, but a daily process of choosing between two paths; the wicked or the righteous. Nothing else is more important or more valuable.
YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT I’m sure you are familiar with this statement and referring to your spiritual life, it’s all the same. Have you ever gone on a diet just to give up after a few days, and gone back to eating junk food again? I have! Our relationship with GOD is the same; we need to abstain from eating the wrong food and instead, choose from a simpler menu and eat at the King’s table. Whatever we put in our spiritual mouths will in the end, when digested, affect our weight with GOD. Choose your food carefully and eat healthy.
TAKE THE CALL When GOD calls, will you say, “Here am I. Send me!”?(Isaiah 6:8) Before we accept GOD’s call to speak for him to those around us, we must be cleansed as Isaiah was, confessing our sins and submitting to GOD’s control. Letting GOD purify us may be painful, but we must be purified so that we can truly represent GOD, who is pure and holy. I would rather go through this painful process with GOD than suffer the everlasting consequences without GOD. I’ve taken the call, so can you!
HOPELESS PANIC When you find yourself in a tight spot, share your needs with trusted friends who also believe in GOD’s power. Prayer is more effective than panic. Panic confirms your hopelessness; prayer confirms your hope in GOD. Always match your persistence in prayer with gratitude when your requests are answered.
DEATH CAN’T WAIT Today I mourn the deaths of two friends and I cannot help but realize how quick death can come and take us away; even in your sleep. The question I keep on asking myself is “Am I seeking CHRIST in all my ways; daily?” When death comes, like a thief in the night, where will you go? Are you sure of your eternal destination? Make every effort to find out today, make sure you will be with JESUS when your time comes. I choose life everlasting; I choose JESUS! Thank you LORD for setting this captive free!
TOTAL COMMITMENT If GOD always rescued those who were true to him, Christians would not need faith. Their religion would be a great insurance policy, and there would be lines of selfish people ready to sign up. Are you ready to take a stand of faith in GOD no matter what? Know that you will stand out, it may be painful and it may not always have a happy ending. Be prepared to say, “If he rescues me, or if he doesn’t, I will serve only GOD.” - Hebrews 11:1
NOT ME LORD Reading Jeremiah 1:1-9 GOD calls Jeremiah to do a job and promises to be with him. We too should not allow feelings of inadequacy to keep us from obeying GOD’s call. He will always be with us. When you find yourself avoiding something you know you should do, be careful not to use lack of self-confidence as an excuse. If GOD gives you a job to do, he will provide all you need to do it. The Bible tells us so; it’s the truth that settles it. DON’T EVEN TRY Throughout the world people around us, friends and family reject GOD and even try and destroy his Word. Speaking out against these actions takes courage. Anyone who decides to live for GOD must be willing to stand firm even if almost
KEEP THE LINE OPEN To keep a bike or car in good running condition you have to maintain it; look after it. The same goes for our relationship with GOD. Daniel had a disciplined prayer life; he prayed 3 times a day without fail even when facing persecution and threats. Our prayers are usually interrupted not by threats, but simply by the pressure of our schedules. Don’t let this cut into your prayer time. Pray regularly, no matter what, for prayer is your lifeline to GOD.
it. I exalt your holy name JESUS, thank you for the cross, thank you for conquering death so I may live and be set free to serve. It’s all about you JESUS, you are my L.E.G.S. - my Life, my Example, my Goal and my Sufficiency! I love you!
BE CONSISTENT Reading Jonah 2:7 I realize that we often act the same way. When life is going well, we tend to take GOD for granted; but when we lose hope, we run to him. This kind of relationship with GOD can result only in an inconsistent, up-and-down spiritual life. A consistent, daily commitment to GOD will result in a solid relationship with him. Look to GOD during both the good and bad times, and you will have a stronger spiritual life.
A NEW LIFE Have you ever wondered what ‘JESUS’ means? It means “the LORD saves”. JESUS came to save us because we can’t save ourselves from sin and its consequences. No matter how good you are, we can’t eliminate the sinful nature that is in all of us. Only JESUS can do that; JESUS came to be our Saviour from the power and penalty of sin which is eternal death and hell. Thank CHRIST today for his death on the cross for your sin and then ask him to take control of your life. Your new life begins at that moment, and when you do, start sharing JESUS with others so they too may be saved.
REACH OUT Most of us have cried at the death of a pet or when an object with sentimental value is broken or taken from you, but have we cried over the fact that a friend does not know GOD? How easy it is to be more sensitive to our own interests than to the spiritual needs of people around us. Do you perhaps think they are beyond salvation or don’t deserve GOD’s mercy and forgiveness? Focus on GOD’s mission for your life, to share his message, trust him and reach out to a friend today.
SHARING YOUR JOY We often look forward to getting a new car, a new motorcycle, a new job or the birth of a child and when it happens we are filled with so much joy and happiness that we want to tell the world; our friends, family, yes even strangers. JESUS is your Messiah, your Saviour! Do you look forward to meeting him in prayer and in his Word each day? Have you discovered a gift so wonderful that you can’t help sharing your joy with your friends, family, yes even strangers? JESUS is that wonderful gift, share him with an unstoppable joy and let him live!
NOT YOUR OWN When GOD created, he made something from nothing. Because we are created beings, we have no basis for pride. Remember that you exist only because GOD made you, and you have special gifts only because GOD gave them to you. With GOD you are something valuable and unique; apart from GOD you are nothing, and if you try to live without him (reject him), you will be abandoning the purpose for which you were made. Seek your Creator, follow JESUS daily.
IT’S NOT EASY Sometimes we think to ourselves “I’m being obedient, so why aren’t things getting better?” We face discomfort or inconvenience and immediately think either that we have misread GOD’s will or that GOD has made a mistake. When we do GOD’s will, we are not guaranteed comfort and convenience. But we are promised that everything has meaning in GOD’s plan; he will guide you and provide all you need. Live each day by faith, trusting that GOD is in charge. Read Romans 5:3-5 and let GOD tell you himself.
WAIT AND SEE It is true that many of us don’t want to wait for anything in life, we want it now. GOD keeps his promises and delivers on time; his time every time! It may not happen the next day but it will be “at the proper time.” If you are waiting for GOD to answer some request or to fill some need, remain patient. No matter how impossible GOD’s promises may seem, it will come true according to his Word. Don’t be a spoilt brat and “stamp your feet or throw your toys”, just wait, trust and believe! ALL ABOUT JESUS Today I find my spirit renewed my heart rejoicing knowing that JESUS is my Lord, my Saviour, my King, and my everything. I am nothing without you JESUS! GOD gave me this perfect love gift through CHRIST JESUS and I didn’t even deserve
him and spend quality time with your life’s best and only real friend; JESUS!
NEW DIRECTION When you found JESUS, how did you respond? In this day and age we expect GOD to come looking for us, to explain himself, prove who he is, and give us gifts. If you are wise you will seek and worship JESUS today, not for what you can get, but for who he is. You see, true worship is honouring CHRIST for who he is and being willing to give him what is most valuable to you; your life! This will mean that your life musttake a different direction, one that is responsive and obedient to GOD’s Word. In what ways will JESUS affect the direction of your life today? Will you let him or reject him?
GOD IS BEST Isn’t it true that we want the best for ourselves and our families? Isn’t it true that we will try everything, even go to the extreme, to get what we want only to find out we’ve been looking at the wrong place and now sit with nothing. We treat GOD in the same way! People look everywhere but to GOD for excitement and meaning. For some reason, they expect GOD to be dull and lifeless. Just as the wine JESUS made was the best, so life in him is better than life on our own. Why wait until everything else runs out before trying GOD? Why save the best until last?
LETTING GO There will come a time when we can no longer hold on to things close to our hearts. Letting go of people or projects we have nurtured for years can be very difficult. It is both sweet and painful to see children as adults, our students as teachers, our subordinates as managers, our hard work as institutions. But when the time comes to step back and let go, we must do so in spite of the hurt. Then we will allow them to exercise their wings, take flight, and soar to the heights GOD intended for them just like Joseph and Mary had to do with JESUS. Holding on will just delay GOD’s ultimate plan and purpose; learn to let go before it’s too late.
TRUE BELIEF To believe is more than intellectual agreement that JESUS is GOD. It means to put our trust and confidence in him that he alone can save us and not our good deeds, skill or intelligence, money or possessions. It is to put CHRIST in charge of our present plans and eternal destiny. Believing is both trusting his words are reliable, and relying on him for the power of change. If you have never trusted CHRIST, let this promise of everlasting life be yours, and believe. Recognise the insufficiency of your own efforts to find salvation, believe and trust in CHRIST to do his work in you. Let him have his way in you!
PREPARE THE WAY As ‘born again’ Christians we need to take the gift of salvation more seriously. We need to prepare the way for JESUS by explaining the need for forgiveness, demonstrating CHRIST’s life in our lives, and telling people how CHRIST can give their lives meaning. We can prepare the way by correcting their thoughts that might be hindering people from approaching CHRIST. Someone you know may be open to a relationship with CHRIST. What can you do to prepare the way for this person? THE REAL YOU GOD knew each one of us long before we saw the light of day. It doesn’t stop there; he still knows us today, who you really are, what you do or say and what you think or feel. If you are a honest person you will feel comfortable with the thought that JESUS knows you through and through. If you are a dishonest person you will feel uncomfortable. You can’t pretend to be something you’re not. GOD knows the real you and wants you to know him, who he really is and can be in your life. Seek
EXCUSES, EXCUSES Some of us have the water of life and keep it to ourselves. When a friend (or anyone) asks you for water will you give him some? Or is it too much work or do you think “You’re no thirsty, you don’t need it”. Some Christians excuse themselves from witnessing (giving life’s water) by saying that their friends aren’t ready to believe. JESUS, however, makes it clear that around us is a vast harvest waiting to be reaped. Don’t let JESUS find you making excuses. Look around! You will find people ‘thirsty’ and ready to hear GOD’s Word just like you, even today. The reward is the most amazing joy of working for JESUS and seeing the harvest of believers come into CHRIST’s kingdom. Come on, no more excuses!
JESUS, expecting miracles and listen to his Word, and still don’t understand the true purpose of JESUS and the way of the cross. Simply knowing about JESUS, or even believing that he is GOD’s Son, does not guarantee salvation. James 2:17 tells us “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” You must follow and obey him. So when you get that growing desire in your heart to make right with GOD, take the call and say “Yes Lord, I need you!” Then trust GOD for direction and purpose in your life saying “Yes Lord, I love you; I will follow and obey you.”
SALVATION IS SIMPLE Salvation is receiving, not giving. It’s not what you’re doing that gets you to Heaven; it’s where you’re looking. It’s not just a matter of semantics. Salvation is not something you do to get; it’s something you receive to have. Why is that so hard for some people to grasp?”You must not expect that you will be perfect in “repentance” before you are saved. No Christian can be perfect. “Repentance” is a grace. Some people preach it as a condition of salvation. Condition of nonsense! There are no conditions of salvation. God gives the salvation himself...” — Charles Spurgeon
POSITIVE EFFECT Have you ever prepared a delicious meal only to find out that you forgot to add seasoning, or maybe added the wrong spices resulting in an undesired effect? Sure, I have! In the same sense, if seasoning has no flavour, it has no value; right? If Christians make no effort to affect the world around them they are of little value to GOD. If we are too much like the world, we are worthless. Christians should not blend in with everyone else. Instead, we should affect others positively, just as the right seasoning brings out the best flavour in food. Not too much, not too little; just the right amount exactly as GOD prescribes. May our efforts be a pleasant flavour to GOD and his kingdom.
HEALING TOUCH When you’ve faced a particularly difficult time, what helped the most? No, no think carefully; a sincere touch from a friend or spouse. While some may have said kind words, most likely it was the presence of a friend and his or her touch. A hug, an arm around your shoulder, or even just a hand laid gently on top of yours; these simple wordless gestures mean so much to those in pain. JESUS had the power to heal with words alone but Luke states that the touch of JESUS’s hand healed the sick. Sure, why not just pray for that person or family, why go through all the trouble to see them face-to-face? Because human touch is so very important. Does someone need a touch from you today? Then go, touch and trust GOD to do the healing.
THOUGHT CONTROL Killing is a terrible sin, but anger against someone is a great sin too; it violates GOD’s command to love. Anger is a dangerous emotion that always threatens to leap out of control, leading to violence, emotional hurt, mental stress, and spiritual damage. Anger keeps us from developing a spirit pleasing to GOD. Have you ever been proud that you didn’t say what was really on your mind? Self-control is good, but CHRIST wants us to practice thought-control as well. JESUS said in Matthew 5:22 that we will be held accountable even for our attitudes.
GOD’s APPROVAL In our lives, at times, we seek the approval or praise from people around us. Many people enjoy great prestige, we look up to them and even try to impress them, seeking their approval as a way of life. Note that JESUS did not accept praise from men and man’s stamp of approval meant nothing to him. He was concerned about GOD’s approval. This is a good principle for us. If even the highest officials in the world approve of our actions and GOD does not, we should be concerned. But if GOD approves, even though others don’t, we should be content. Whose approval are you seeking in your life? Matthew 6:33 tells us “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” ANSWER THE CALL Even evil spirits (Satan and his demons) know that JESUS is the Son of GOD, but they have no intention of following him. Many people follow
forgive and help others.
LOVE LIKE GOD When we are wronged, often our first reaction is to get even. Instead JESUS said we should do good to those who wrong us. Our desire should not be to keep score, but to love and forgive. This is not natural - this is supernatural.Only GOD can give us the strength to love as he does. Instead of planning vengeance, pray for those who hurt you. This is possible only for those who give themselves fully to GOD, because only he can deliver people from natural selfishness. We must trust the Holy Spirit to help us show love to those for whom we may not feel love.
JUDGMENT DAY No, I’m not referring to a movie here, but reality instead. JESUS will expose those people who sound religious but have no personal relationship with him. On “that day”, only our relationship with CHRIST - our acceptance of him as Saviour and our obedience to him - will matter. Many people think that if they are “good” people and say religious things, they will be rewarded with eternal life. Wrong! In reality, faith in CHRIST is what will count on judgment day. “That day” is the final day of reckoning when GOD will settle all accounts, judging sin and rewarding faith.
TEMPTATION AND TESTING GOD doesn’t lead us into temptations, but sometimes he allows us to be tested by them. A person has not shown true obedience if he or she never had the opportunity to disobey. All Christians struggle with temptation. Sometimes it is so subtle that we don’t even realize what is happening to us. GOD promises in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that he won’t allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear. Ask GOD to help you recognise temptation and to give you strength to overcome it and choose GOD’s way instead. Remember, your convictions are only strong if they hold up under pressure.
YOKES OF LIFE Responsibilities weigh us down, even the effort staying true to GOD. But the way of JESUS remains easy compared to the crushing alternative.JESUS doesn’t offer a life of luxurious ease; you still have to work hard. But it’s a shared load, with weight falling on shoulders bigger than yours. Someone with more pulling power is up front helping. Suddenly you are participating in life’s responsibilities with a great Partner; and now that frown can turn into a smile, and that gripe into a song. All you have to do is step back so CHRIST can step in, and then follow him with all your might.
PLAN NOT TO WORRY Planning for tomorrow is time well spent; worrying about tomorrow is time wasted. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell the difference. Careful planning is thinking ahead about goals, steps, and schedules and trusting in GOD’s guidance. When done well, planning can help alleviate worry. Worries, by contrast, are consumed by fear which is of Satan and you’ll find it difficult to trust GOD. They let their plans interfere with their relationship with GOD. Don’t let worries about tomorrow affect your relationship with GOD today. Worries cannot take care of GOD, but GOD can take care of your worries; put GOD first. DON’T JUDGE; FORGIVE In Matthew 7:1, 2 JESUS tells us to examine our own motives and conduct instead of judging others. The things that bother us in others are often the habits we dislike in ourselves. Our bad habits and behaviour patterns are the very ones that we most want to change in others. Do you find it easy to point out faults in others while excusing your own? If you are ready to criticise someone, check to see if you deserve the same criticism. Judge yourself first, and then lovingly
USELESS SOIL Please read Luke 8:4-8 before reading what follows.”Path” people, like many people today, refuse to believe GOD’s message. “Rock” people, like many believers today, believe his message but never get around to doing anything about it. “Thorn patch” people, overcome by worries and materialism, leave no room in their lives for GOD. “Good soil” people, in contrast to all the other groups, follow JESUS no matter what the cost. Which soil are you? Have you heard GOD’s message and still choose to ignore it or only listen to what you want to hear? Then we are nothing but hypocrites; CHRIST rejectors!
in the storms of life, it is easy to think that GOD has lost control and that we’re at the mercy of the winds of fate. In reality, GOD is sovereign; he controls the history of the world as well as our personal destinies. Just as JESUS calmed the waves, he can calm whatever storms you may face. In faith, reach out to JESUS, trusting, knowing and believing in him alone to command the storms in your life to subside. Only JESUS has the power to do that!
REALITY CHECK It is impossible to be neutral about CHRIST. Anyone who is not actively following him has chosen to reject him. Any person who tries to remain neutral in the struggle of good against evil is choosing to be separated from GOD. Now, if you reject the prompting of the Holy Spirit (yes, that little voice that keeps on telling you that what you’re doing or saying is wrong or sinful) you remove yourself from the only force that can lead you to repentance and restoration to GOD. Finally, to refuse to follow CHRIST is to choose to be on Satan’s team. That’s the reality of the matter; wake up!
WORKERS NEEDED In Matthew 9:37, 38 JESUS looked at the crowds following him and referred to them as a field ripe for harvest. Many people, yes people all around us, are ready to give their lives to CHRIST if someone would show them how. JESUS commands us to pray that people will respond to this need for workers. Often, when we pray for something, GOD answers our prayers by using us. Be prepared for GOD to use you to show another person the way to him. Respond today to GOD’s command to you as a Christian; he needs workers! Are you willing or are you lazy and selfish and want to keep CHRIST for yourself?
AN ATHEIST’s PRAYER When someone talks about a hardship they’re going through, most atheists chime in with “You’ll be in my thoughts” or “Sending good thoughts and positive vibes your way.” I find this interesting as it seems to be the atheist version of “I’ll pray for you.” or “You’re in my prayers.” Prayer makes sense because it accomplishes something. You’re talking to GOD who is in a position to make a difference to the person in need. But positive thoughts, while kind, are essentially useless. A person isn’t going to heal quicker, for example, because someone else was thinking about them. Do you suppose atheists realize on some level that their “positive thoughts” are a poor imitation of the power of prayer? GOD created you, he alone can heal you; JESUS died for you, he alone can comfort you!
GOD BEFORE FAMILY Christian commitment may separate friends and loved ones. Because some will follow CHRIST and some won’t, conflict will arise. As we take our cross and follow him, our different values, morals, goals, and purposes will set us apart from others. CHRIST calls us to a higher mission than to find comfort in this life. Love of family is a law of GOD, but even this love can be used as an excuse not to serve GOD or do his work. Don’t neglect your family, but remember that your commitment to GOD is even more important. Family and friends can’t save you, only GOD can. GOD should be your first priority no matter how difficult it might be; no matter what.
LET IT SHINE Many Christians today are hidden from sight, reluctant to be identified as Christians. Such Christians is like a brand-new light bulb that never leaves the package it came in. If a light bulb doesn’t help people see (it’s intended purpose), it isn’t worth much. The packaging needs to be removed and the bulb plugged in. Does your life show other people how to find GOD and how to live for him? If not, the packaging of complacency, resentment, embarrassment, stubbornness of heart, or disobedience might be keeping you from shining. What do you need to do to let your light shine? Live the purpose GOD intended for your life; shine the light that is in you - CHRIST JESUS! CAUGHT IN A STORM In Luke 8:22-25, just like the disciples were caught in a storm with JESUS on-board, we too face terrible storms in our lives. When caught
NO COMPROMISE Christians today face a world of moral compromise. Secular power sets standards that correspond to majority vote; Christian standards, however, begin and end with GOD’s Word. To be faithful to GOD’s Word, we must stand up against what is morally wrong. Responsible Christians must choose their battles; start with prayers for wisdom, then prayers for courage. Once your battle is chosen, speak and act as a faithful follower of the living GOD. Witness with strength, faith and love; no compromise, no turning back! 22
lead a life of sin and self-satisfaction. He wants us to stop trying to control our own destiny and to let him direct us. This makes perfect sense because, as our Creator, CHRIST knows better than we do what real life is about. Now try and hold on to your own way and see where that’ll get you, or decide to give it all to CHRIST and allow him to take you all the way!
EYES UP We all go through tough situations in life, some more than others. Like Peter in Matthew 14:22-32, if we focus on the waves of difficult circumstances around us without looking to JESUS for help, we too may sink. When you are apprehensive about the troubles around you and doubt CHRIST’s presence or ability to help, you must remember that he is the only one who can really help. To maintain your faith when situations are difficult, keep your eyes on JESUS’s power rather than on your inadequacies.
PRAISING GOD Have you lost your passion for GOD? You’ll know if you’ve lost touch with GOD when you don’t praise him anymore. We must praise him not only when things are going great but also when everything goes wrong! You can’t go to work and decide not to wear any clothes just because you don’t feel like it. The same goes for praising GOD, you can’t stop praising him just because you don’t feel like it. When you don’t feel like singing, that’s the time to sing. When you feel beaten and captive, that’s the time to sing!
LIFE BEGINS WITH JESUS True believers follow JESUS simply because they know he has the truth and his way is the way to live. Many people are puzzled or restrained by their pride, allowing Satan to steal the joy they can have as followers of CHRIST. JESUS tells us in John 6:35-40, that we must believe on him whom GOD has sent. Pleasing GOD does not come from the work we do, but from whom we believe. The first step involves accepting that JESUS is who he claims to be. All spiritual growth is built on this decision. Declare to JESUS, “You are the CHRIST, the Son of the living GOD” and start a journey on a life of belief that is satisfying to your Creator. A journey begins with a decision, choose ‘Yes’ and live.
MOUNTAINS & VALLEYS Sometimes in life we have such an inspiring experience that we want to stay right where we are, away from the reality and problems of daily life. Knowing that struggles await us in the valley encourages us to stay on that mountaintop a little while longer. Yet staying on there for too long hinders our time with others; loving, caring and ministering. Instead of becoming spiritual giants, we would soon become ineffective through our self-centredness. Yes we need times of retreat and renewal but only so we can return to be more effective for CHRIST. Our faith must make sense off the mountain as well as on it. Sure, go up the mountain for some alone time with JESUS, then hurry down to live his purpose for your life!
WHAT WILL IT TAKE Many people today say they want to see a miracle so that they can believe. The truth is that miracles will not convince the sceptical; they chose not to believe. Do you doubt CHRIST because you haven’t seen a miracle? Do you expect GOD to prove himself to you personally before you believe? JESUS says in John 20:29 “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” We have all the miracles in the Old and New Testaments, 2000 years of church history, and the witness of thousands. With all this evidence, those who won’t believe are either too proud or too stubborn. If you simply step forward in faith and believe, then you will begin to see the miracles that GOD can do with your life! The fact that you are alive is one to begin with. AN EMPTY LIFE We should be willing to lose our lives for the sake of the gospel, not because our lives are useless but because nothing - not even life itself - can compare to what we gain with CHRIST. JESUS wants us to choose to follow him rather than to
CUT IT OUT Preparing food for a meal we make sure we get the best quality ingredients. At times we will find an item with bad or spoiled parts, so we cut it out or throw the whole thing away so it won’t spoil the meal or contaminate the rest of the batch. The same goes for sin in our lives; it is important to cut it out no matter how painful it might be. Giving up a relationship, job, or habit that is against GOD’s will may seem painful, but CHRIST is worth any possible loss or discomfort. Nothing should stand in the way of faith. We must be ruthless in removing sin from our lives now in order to avoid being stuck with it for eternity. Make your choices from an eternal point of view. 23
where to go. Depression will put a thirst in you. It will cause you to say, “LORD, I have to get out of this. I can’t stand this. I don’t care what it takes. I’m thirsty for you, GOD. I need you to show up in my life.” Do you ever feel like you are drowning, but you can’t drown? You aren’t quite water-logged, but you can’t keep your head above water either. That’s how it is to be depressed. The devil doesn’t cause depression. When you allow the circumstances in life to drive you away from GOD, when you quit praising him, and when you quit going to church, you become open to this spirit. Too often this is how we react under pressure; the very place we need to be is the place we avoid.
FEAR OR FAITH Fear says: “I’m afraid of what tomorrow will bring.” Faith says: “I know God, who holds tomorrow!” Fear calls out: “Crime!” Faith says: “God will protect and keep us” Fear says: “What’s going to happen to our children?” Faith says: “God will keep them under his wings!” Fear says: “How am I going to pay, how will I be able to afford?” Faith says: “God will provide!” Fear takes us captive while faith sets free. Fear discourage while faith encourages. Fear gives birth to hopelessness while faith restores hope. Fear brings sadness, faith rejoices in the Lord. Fear causes us to feel useless while faith gives meaning and purpose to our lives. Fear causes sickness while faith brings healing. Fear leads to death while faith gives life.
TERRIBLE MISTAKE In a number of places JESUS intentionally challenged his listeners to test him. Even today he welcomes those who want to question his claims and character as long as they are willing to follow through on what they discover. JESUS’ challenge clarifies the two most frequent reasons that people miss when encountering him: 1) they never accept his challenge to test him, or 2) they test him but are not willing to believe what they discover. Have you made either of these mistakes? Are you rejecting the truth when it should be accepted? The answer is in John 8:4247.
CHILDREN AND ANGELS Our concern for children must match GOD’s treatment of them. Angels are assigned to watch over them, and as you know Angels have direct access to GOD. Children should not be ignored, taken lightly, or aborted; they should be loved and cared for with the love of GOD our Father. We should allow children to approach us easily in spite our far too busy schedules. Furthermore, we come in contact with children who need CHRIST at home, at school, in church, and in the neighbourhood. Steer them toward CHRIST by your example, your words, and your acts of kindness. Show them that CHRIST is alive in you, that he is real and that he loves them more than anything else in this world.
PRAYER PRIORITY Whatever your role in GOD’s work, pray today for more helpers. Believers are not always to work alone. GOD wants us to pray, recruit, and equip others to join us as we explore opportunities to serve JESUS. Some people, as soon as they understand the gospel, want to go and convert people immediately. JESUS gave a different approach: begin by mobilizing people to pray. Before praying for unsaved people, pray that other concerned disciples will join you in reaching out to them. GOD will lead you to an important responsibility, but prayer comes first.
SPEAK UP We today have every reason to believe because we have the full record of JESUS’ miracles, death, and resurrection. We also have the evidence of what the gospel has done in people’s lives through the centuries. That said, although many people (believers) talk about CHRIST in church, cell groups, and among themselves; when it comes to making a public statement about their faith, they are often embarrassed. JESUS says in Matthew 10:32 that he will acknowledge us before GOD if we acknowledge him before others (unbelievers). Be courageous! Speak up for CHRIST! You have nothing to be ashamed of; he died for you and he saved you! DEPRESSION Depression sometimes feels as if you are being chased by something. You are so tired of running from what you are afraid of that you don’t know
LIVE RESPONSIBLY JESUS has told us how to live until he returns; we must watch for him, work diligently, and obey his commands. These attitudes are especially important for Christians. Watchful and fruitful Christians will be given even more opportunities and responsibilities. The more resources, talents, and understanding we have, the more we are responsible to use them effectively for GOD. GOD will not hold you responsible for gifts he has not given you, but all of us have enough GODgiven gifts and duties to keep us busy until JESUS comes for us. Now, do the complete opposite and neglect these gifts or talents, and GOD will take it away from you.
FORGIVENESS NEEDED In Luke 11:2-4 JESUS taught his disciples how to pray and you’ll see in verse 4 the importance of forgiving; the foundation of our relationship with GOD. As disciples GOD has forgiven our sin; we must now forgive those who have wronged us. To remain unforgiving shows we have not understood that we ourselves deeply need to be forgiven. Think of some people who have wronged you. Have you forgiven them? Really? How will GOD deal with you if he treats you as you treat others? Only pride and selfishness can keep you from forgiving, get rid of it or it will control you. PUT HIM BACK I’m sure you will agree that sometimes we put a painting on a wall, a gift or trophy on a shelf for you to marvel at and so visitors can see it. It makes you feel good and it makes the room look alive. Then comes the day when this item just doesn’t do it for you anymore so you remove it or replace it with something else. Now the very same thing is true of our spiritual lives; as Christians or new believers we put GOD on the throne and marvel at this gift of love and hope, we even invite others to look at it. Then comes the day when faith and hope runs out, and you replace GOD with your own sinful desires. Who’s your daddy now? Yes every time we sin we reject CHRIST, we take him off the throne (he is no longer the ruler) and we place Satan and his demons on that very throne that belongs to GOD. Merely saying, “But I’m just human” is a sorry excuse, stop playing games and get serious about who you put on that throne. Right now put GOD back on that throne and command Satan, in the name of JESUS, to get off and stay off!
DON’T ASK WHY We live in a fallen world where good behaviour is not always rewarded and bad behaviour not always punished. Therefore, innocent people sometimes suffer. If GOD took suffering away whenever we asked, we would follow him for comfort and convenience, not out of love and devotion. Regardless of the reasons for our suffering, JESUS has the power to help us deal with it. When you suffer from disease, tragedy, or disability, try not to ask, “Why did this happen to me?” or “What did I do wrong?”. Instead, ask GOD to give you strength for the trial and a clearer perspective on what is happening. Then trust and believe in him completely, and he will reward you accordingly. THE DOOR IS OPEN Finding salvation requires more concentrated effort than most people are willing to put forth. Obviously we cannot save ourselves; there is no way we can work ourselves into GOD’s favour. The effort we must put out is earnestly desiring to know JESUS and diligently striving to follow him whatever the cost. We dare not put off making this decision because the door will not stay open forever. JESUS explained that although many people know something about GOD, only a few have acknowledged their sins and accepted his forgiveness. Just listening to JESUS’ words or admiring his miracles is not enough; we must turn from our sin and trust GOD to save us.
ARE YOU READY CHRIST’s return at an unexpected time is not a trap, a trick by which GOD hopes to catch us off guard. In fact, GOD is delaying his return so more people will have the opportunity to follow him. Before CHRIST’s return, we have time to live out our beliefs and to reflect JESUS’ love as we relate to others. Those who are ready for JESUS’ return are 1) not hypocritical but sincere, 2) not fearful but ready to witness, 3) not worried but trusting, 4) not greedy but generous, 5) not lazy but diligent. May your life be more like CHRIST’s so when he comes, you will be ready to greet him joyfully. 25
THE RIGHT FAITH Like a tiny seed, a small amount of genuine faith in GOD will take root and grow. Almost invisible at first, the seed will begin to spread, first the roots then the visible tree. So what is faith? It is total dependence on GOD and a willingness to do his will. Faith is not something we use to put on show for others. It is complete and humble obedience to GOD’s will, readiness to do whatever he calls us to do. The amount of faith isn’t as important as the right kind of faith; faith in our all-powerful GOD. Have you checked the quality of your faith lately?
IT’LL COST YOU When you want to build or make something, you ensure the cost is calculated accurately so you don’t run out of money and end up with an uncompleted product. Will you leave the Christian life after a little while because you did not count the cost of commitment to JESUS? What are those costs? As a Christian you may face loss of social status or wealth. You have to give up control over your money, your time, or your career. You may be hated, separated from your family, and even be put to death. Following CHRIST does not mean a trouble-free life. We must carefully count the cost of becoming CHRIST’s disciples so that we will know what we are getting into and won’t be tempted later to turn back. Hang in there; it will be worth it in the end!
BE READY People clinging to this life are those seeking to escape physical persecution. Those who live for themselves display these common attitudes: 1) Materialism - I want it and work hard to get it. All that I see is real and the things I can’t see are merely ideas and dreams. 2) Individualism I work hard for me, and you work hard for you. I may make it, and you may not. That is your problem, not mine. 3) Scepticism - Anything I’m not convinced about can’t be important. Everything important to know I can figure out. Those who have these attitudes may protect themselves, but they will lose the spiritual side to their lives. Keep your commitment to CHRIST at full strength, then you’ll be ready when he returns. Live as if JESUS were returning today.
WORTHLESS Salt can lose its flavour. When it gets wet and then dries, nothing is left but a tasteless residue. Many Christians blend into the world and avoid the cost of standing up for CHRIST. But JESUS says if Christians lose their distinctive saltiness, they become worthless. Just as salt flavours and preserves food, we are to preserve the good in the world, help keep it from spoiling, and bring new flavour to life. This requires careful planning, willing sacrifice, and unswerving commitment to CHRIST’s kingdom. Being “salty” is not easy, but if a Christian fails in this function, he or she fails to represent CHRIST in the world. How salty are you?
PRAY, PRAY, PRAY To persist in prayer and not give up does not mean endless repetition or painfully long prayer sessions. Always praying means keeping our requests constantly before GOD as we live for him day by day, believing he will answer. When we live by faith, we are not to give up. GOD may delay answering, but his delays always have good reasons. As we persist in prayer we grow in character, faith, and hope. Now what’s important is that we pray with a humble heart and not a prideful one. In Luke 18:14 JESUS says, “...whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Pray so you may be justified before GOD, and never give up, he will answer. We all need GOD’s mercy.
JESUS CARES Any trial a believer faces can ultimately bring glory to GOD, because GOD can bring good out of any situation. When trouble comes, do you grumble, complain and blame GOD or do you see your problems and sorrows as opportunities to honour him? Throughout JESUS’ life on earth he showed that he cares enough for us to weep with us in our sorrow and even die for us. JESUS’ emotions of compassion, sorrow, anger, even frustration have never been hidden from us. He often expressed deep emotion, and so we must never be afraid to reveal our true feelings to him. He understands them, for he experienced them. Be honest and don’t try to hide anything from your Saviour. He cares for you!
their relationship with CHRIST.
ADULT FANTASIES Adults are not as trusting as little children. To feel secure all children need is a loving look and gentle touch from someone who cares. Complete understanding is not one of their requirements. They believe us if they trust us. JESUS said that people should believe in him with this kind of childlike faith. We should not have to understand all the mysteries of the universe; it should be enough to know that GOD loves us and provides forgiveness for our sins. Adult self-sufficiency must recognise its need for the Sovereign GOD; adult moral defensiveness must humble itself before the Holy GOD; adult sceptical toughness must soften before the Loving GOD. Coming to JESUS means to accept his goodness on your behalf, confess your need, and commit your life to his tender guidance.
STATUS AND CHRIST Those who seek status and importance in this world will have none in heaven. Those who are humble will be great in heaven. The corrupt condition of our society encourages confusion in values. We are bombarded by messages that tell us how to be important and feel good, and JESUS’ teaching about serving others seems out of this world. But those who have humbly served others are most qualified to be great in heaven. In becoming a servant like JESUS we need boldness. We must overcome our pride and doubts and take the step to call on him to reign in us. We have all heard the Gospels. May we be like those of whom Peter wrote in 1 Peter 1:8, “Though you have not seen him, you love him, and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.”
BINDING THE IDOLATRY To overcome this evil stronghold, you must first ne certain JESUS is Lord of your life. Examine your heart and determine if he reigns on the throne of your life. Have you withheld any desires or areas of your heart and mind from him? Submit them to his will. Tear every idol out of your heart. If there is anything that you invest more time, talent, and passion in than you do in your love for CHRIST, consider its place as an idol and deal with it immediately! Bind these spirits of idolatry that may have taken root in your life. Take a moment and pray: Lord JESUS, forgive me for allowing anything or anyone but you to rule over my life. I confess that you alone have the right to be Lord. I reject every lie of Satan and every idol he has brought into my life. In JESUS’s name, I bind these destructive spirits and ask you to cleanse my life of every wrong they have brought. Thank you for setting me free. In JESUS’s name I pray. Amen. GOD’s GRACE Many people we don’t expect to see in the kingdom will be there. The criminal who repented as he was dying will be there along with the people who have believed and served GOD for years. Do you resent GOD’s gracious acceptance of the despised, the outcast, and the sinners who have turned to him for forgiveness? Are you ever jealous of what GOD has given to another person? Instead, focus on GOD’s blessings to you, and be thankful for what you have. Don’t be upset with those who turn to GOD in the last moments of life, because in reality no one deserves eternal life. Be happy and rejoice with them, helping them grow in grace and in
IT STARTS WITH A LIE When we choose the way of sin, GOD may not immediately do anything to stop us, but this does not mean he approves of our actions. Our lives can become a lie, and the devil can gain more and more control over us. Satan is the father of lies, and a lying character opens the door to his influence. JESUS’ knowledge of us should make us want to keep our actions consistent with our words. We can’t hide anything from him. Warning! A single lie leads to sin which then leads to even more sin, a downward spiral that can only be stopped by repentance and the power of the Holy Spirit to change our behaviour. Avoid lies at all cost! Ignore this warning, and what you deserve will come!
LET HIM DRIVE Learning to ride a bike takes commitment to instruction. The same goes for following CHRIST. We must be so committed to living for CHRIST that we “hate” our lives by comparison. This does not mean that we long to die or that we are careless with the life GOD has given, but that we are willing to die if doing so will glorify CHRIST. We must disown the sinful rule of our own selfcenteredness. By laying aside our striving for advantage, security and pleasure, we can serve GOD lovingly and freely. Releasing control to CHRIST will bring eternal life and genuine joy. Why not let CHRIST drive for the rest of life’s journey, and allow him to take you to a place you are destined to see. Heaven!
will be broken by him of their arrogance, hardheartedness, and self-centeredness. It is not a pleasant process but an absolutely necessary one. Allow yourself to be broken so you may be fully restored to GOD’s purpose and direction for your life. Restored to glorify your Creator.
GOD’s APPROVAL People in the Old and the New Testament times and still today would not believe in GOD despite the evidence. As a result GOD hardened their hearts. Does that mean GOD intentionally prevented these people from believing in him? No, he simply confirmed their own choices. After a lifetime of resisting GOD, they had become so set in their ways that they wouldn’t even try to understand JESUS’ message. For such people, it is virtually impossible to come to GOD; their hearts have been permanently hardened. Along with those who refuse to believe, many believe but refuse to admit it. This is just as bad. People who will not take a stand for JESUS are afraid of rejection or ridicule from friends and society. But the praise of others is meaningless and short-lived. We should be much more concerned about GOD’s eternal acceptance than about the temporary approval of other people.
NOT ENOUGH Just sitting on a motorcycle doesn’t make you a motorcyclist. A few steps have to be taken before you can become one. Life in this world is the same; letting go and letting GOD, for some, can be a very difficult step. We must remember that being “close” to being a Christian is infinitely far away if a person never commits to CHRIST. It is important to know that salvation cannot rest on intellectual knowledge alone. You must repent, follow CHRIST, and be made a new person in his Holy Spirit. Don’t be content with being close; take the next step and make the commitment. If you as a believer know someone who is “close”, love him more than yourself and help him take the next step. Live GOD’s purpose for your life, don’t just sit there.
FOCUSSED PRAYER The kind of prayer that moves mountains is prayer for the fruitfulness of GOD’s kingdom. It would seem impossible to move a mountain into the sea, so JESUS used that picture to say that GOD can do anything. GOD will answer your prayers, but not as a result of your positive mental attitude. Other conditions must be met:1) you must be a believer in CHRIST; 2) you must not hold a grudge against another person; 3) you must not pray with selfish motives; 4) your request must be for the good of GOD’s kingdom. To pray effectively, you need faith in GOD, not faith in the object of your request. If you focus only on your request, you will be left with nothing if your request is refused. JESUS prayed with GOD’s interests in mind. When we pray, we should express our desires, but want his will above ours. Check yourself to see if your prayers focus on your interests or GOD’s. BROKEN BY JESUS The word “broken” brings negative images to mind such as: broken bones, broken hearts, broken toys, broken relationships. You don’t want something you value to be broken. In contrast, and in GOD’s dictionary, brokenness is not only good but also essential. He uses only people whose hearts and pride have been broken. JESUS gives a double warning in Luke 20:18 - those who stumble over that stone (himself) “will be broken to pieces, while it will crush anyone it falls on.” GOD offers a choice of “brokenness”. Those who submit their wills to JESUS and all they are to him,
CHRIST BEFORE RELIGION Hypocrite converts are attracted to religion, not to GOD. By getting caught up in the details of additional laws and regulations, they completely miss GOD, to whom the laws point. It is possible to obey the details of the laws but still be disobedient in our general behaviour. For example, we could be very precise and faithful about giving 10% of our money to GOD, but refuse to give one minute of our time in helping others. Thus a hypocritical believer is likely to have converts who were even more hypocritical. We must make sure we are not creating hypocrites by emphasizing outward obedience at the expense of inner renewal. FIT AND READY JESUS told his disciples to keep a constant watch for his return. Yes his words still remain and it goes for all of us. CHRIST is coming again, and we need to look out for him and be spiritually fit. This means working faithfully at the tasks GOD has given us. Don’t let your mind and spirit be killed by careless living, drinking, or foolishly pursuing pleasure. Don’t let life’s anxieties wear you down, so that you will be ready to move at GOD’s command. This assurance of CHRIST’s return should give us the courage and hope to stand for him no matter how difficult the situation. Be ready! 28
a comfortable passage for those who find it hard to serve those beneath them. How do you treat those who work under you, or who have been placed under your care; whether children, spouse, employees or volunteers? My question again: Have you ever washed someone else’s feet? Why wouldn’t you? What makes you any better than JESUS? Today, make an effort to serve someone other than yourself, and don’t stop!
WHY SUFFER JESUS himself asked GOD to spare him the agonies of the cross, if it was GOD’s will. Still JESUS went on to suffer and die for you and me. Would you suffer and even die for someone else; for JESUS? It is abnormal to want to suffer, but as JESUS’ followers we must be willing to suffer if by doing so we can help build GOD’s kingdom. We have two wonderful promises to help us as we suffer; GOD will always be with us, and he will one day rescue us and give us eternal life. Ask yourself and be honest, “When last have I suffered sacrificially for someone else; for my Saviour?” I for one am ashamed at my answer. And you?
LOVE LIKE JESUS Love is more than simply warm feelings; it is an attitude that reveals itself in action. How can we love others as JESUS loves us? By helping when it’s inconvenient, by giving when it hurts, by devoting energy to others without complaining or fighting back. This kind of loving is hard to do. That is why people notice when you do it and know you are empowered by a perfect source that is CHRIST. JESUS was a living example of GOD’s love, as we are to be living examples of JESUS’ love. May JESUS be that perfect source of supernatural love in your life and mine. Read 1 Corinthians 13 for a great description of love.
TALENTS WASTED JESUS is coming back; we know this is true. Does this mean we have to quit our jobs in order to serve GOD? No, it means we are to use our time, talents, and resources diligently in order to serve GOD completely in whatever we do. We are responsible to use well what GOD has given us. For a few people, this may mean changing jobs. For most of us, it means doing our daily work out of love for GOD. The issue is not how much we have, but how well we use what we have. Do you know what your Spiritual Gifts are? Are you using them? Consider doing a Spiritual Gift Test and find out what talents GOD has given you.
JESUS IS THE WAY How can we know the way to GOD? Only through JESUS. JESUS is the way because he is both GOD and man. In John 14:6 JESUS says he is the only way to GOD the Father. Some people may argue that this way is too narrow and that there must be more options or ways to get to heaven. In reality, GOD’s way (his Son) is wide enough for the whole world, if the world chooses to accept it. Instead of worrying about how limited it sounds to have only one way, we should be saying, “Thank you, GOD, for providing one sure way to get to you!” Trust JESUS to take you to the Father, and all the benefits of being GOD’s child will be yours.
WATCH YOUR ACTIONS GOD will separate his obedient followers from pretenders and unbelievers. The real evidence of our belief is the way we act. What we do for others demonstrates what we really think of JESUS. These acts do not depend on wealth, ability, or intelligence; they are simple acts of love freely given and freely received. We have no excuse to neglect those who have deep needs, and we cannot hand over the responsibility to the church or government. JESUS demands our personal involvement in caring for others’ needs. How well do your actions separate you from pretenders and unbelievers? SERVING OTHERS Have you ever washed someone else’s feet? Why would you? Imagine being one of the disciples and watching JESUS wash the others’ feet, all the while moving closer to you. Would you allow JESUS to wash your feet or would you refuse like Peter did at first? Refusing would mean that we do not understand JESUS’ teaching that to be a leader; a person must be a servant. This is not
A CERTAIN FUTURE Sometimes people wish they knew the future so they could prepare for it, or simply put: try and change it. GOD has chosen not to give us this knowledge. He alone knows what the future holds, but he tells us all we need to know to prepare for it. When we live by his standards, he will not leave us, he will come to us, he will be in us, he will show himself to us. GOD knows what will happen and when, and because he will be with us through it all, we need not fear. We don’t have to know the future to have faith in GOD; we have to have faith in GOD to be secure about the future. Our future is certain, GOD our Father is in control, don’t try and change it.
CHRIST becomes sanctified (set apart for sacred use, cleansed, and made holy) through believing and obeying the Word of GOD. He or she has already accepted forgiveness through CHRIST’s sacrificial death. But daily application of GOD’s Word has a purifying effect on our minds and hearts. Scripture points out sin, motivates us to confess, renews our relationship with CHRIST, and guides us back on the right path.
JESUS IS JOY When things are going well, we feel on top of the world. When hardships come, we sink into depression. But true joy overcomes these knocking blows of circumstance. Joy comes from a consistent relationship with JESUS CHRIST. When our lives are intertwined with his, he will help us walk through tough times without sinking into debilitating lows and help us manage the good times without moving into deceptive highs. The joy of living with JESUS CHRIST daily will keep us level-headed, no matter how high or low our circumstances. If you have this joy, be fruitful and share it with someone today; introduce him to JESUS CHRIST.
VICTORIOUS FREEDOM Satan has been stripped of his right, power, and authority over all those who have bowed at the foot of the cross and received the precious blood of CHRIST as atonement for their sin. We see in Romans 8:33-34 that JESUS robbed Satan of his right to accuse us. Satan has been robbed of his right to kill us. We are no longer guilty. He has been robbed of his ownership of us. He has no weapon and no way to keep us. However, the question remains, “If Satan has been disarmed, exposed and defeated at the cross, why is my life so far from victorious?” 1. If you have not yet been saved, then you are fair game for the attacks and residency of Satan and his demons in your life. 2. If you are a believer, then the only way Satan can attack you is if you have given him the right. Through CHRIST there is victory in the cross! Claim it and be set free from captivity. I am a slave no more; thank you JESUS!
LEGALISM It is easier to live by someone’s set of rules than to obey and follow the Holy Spirit! It is amazing how many Christians are saved by the work of GOD’s Spirit, but then go on to try to live the Christian life according to what man says is proper. The Law has no supernatural power. Miracles happen when the Word of GOD is preached under the power of the Holy Spirit and the people receive it in faith. Some Christians listen to preaching only critically. Others listen intellectually. Still more listen with prejudice. Others don’t listen at all! But if you listen with a heart of faith, the Word of GOD can translate into the practice of life.
WORTHWHILE COMMITMENT You may not face execution for your faith, but you probably face many problems that wear you down. You deal with irritating people whom you must love and serve; you face the burden of unfinished tasks or lack of obvious results; you cope with helpers who let you down or fail to comprehend. Remember that in times of great stress, you are vulnerable to temptation, even if you have a willing spirit. JESUS explained how to resist: 1) Keep watch (Mark 14:34) - stay awake and be morally vigilant. 2) Pray to GOD (Mark 14:35) - this is how you maintain your vigilance. 3) Seek support from friends and loved ones (Mark 14:33, 37, 40, 41) - this is how you build up your resistance and help others; when one is weak, others are strong. 4) Focus on the purpose GOD has given you (Mark 14:36) - this is how you do GOD’s will and not your own. Anything worth having costs something. What does your commitment to GOD cost you?
POWER OF THE CROSS CHRIST’s death on the cross made a personal relationship with GOD available to us. Unless JESUS did what he came to do, there would be no gospel. If he did not die, he could not remove our sins; he could not rise again and defeat death. If he did not go back to the Father, the Holy Spirit would not come. CHRIST’s presence on earth was limited to one place at a time. His leaving meant he could be present to the whole world through the Holy Spirit all the time. GOD wants you to know you are not alone. You have the Holy Spirit to comfort you, teach you truth, and help you in the most troublesome times. Keep your eyes on GOD’s promises; he will give you the peace of CHRIST through the presence of the Holy Spirit. Amen! FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST The world hates Christians because Christians’ values differ from the world’s. Because CHRIST’s followers don’t cooperate with the world by joining in their sin, they are living accusations against the world’s immorality. A follower of
DOUBT IN ACTION When you experience doubt, take encouragement from Thomas, a disciple of JESUS. He didn’t stay in his doubt, but allowed JESUS to bring him to belief. Take encouragement also from the fact that countless other followers of CHRIST have struggled with doubts. The answers GOD gave them may help you too. Don’t settle into doubts, but move on from them to decision and belief. Find another believer with whom you can share your doubts, silent doubts rarely find answers. Doubt can be used to pose a question, get an answer, and push for a decision. It can never be permanent; you have to allow JESUS to give you direction or you will stand with your foot in the air and never take that step. Believe, trust and walk by faith in CHRIST!
FOLLOW ME Each of us, from the beginning, is one of GOD’s works in progress. Much of what GOD has for us he gives long before we are able to consciously respond to him. He trusts us with skills and abilities ahead of schedule. He has made each of us capable of being his servant. When we trust him with what he has given us, we begin a life of real adventure. Matthew couldn’t have known that GOD would use the very skills he had sharpened as a tax collector to record the greatest story ever lived. And GOD has no less meaningful purpose for each one of us. Have you heard JESUS saying to you, “Follow me”? What has your response been? SHARE YOUR FAITH If you found a really great doctor, or helpful mechanic, or even a terrific diet, you probably would tell your closest friend about it. Since you’ve found the One who forgives sin and gives you a new life, don’t you think that’s something you ought to share? The news you have to share is the best news anyone could hear! “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of GOD for the salvation of everyone who believes...” - Rom 1:16 Write down the name of one person who needs to know JESUS CHRIST. Start praying for that person to become a Christian. Ask a Christian friend to pray with you for the person and to help you learn how to share your faith with him or her.
NOT AN OPTION When JESUS left his disciples he gave them these last words of instruction, “to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” - Matthew 8:18-20 Seeing that we are under JESUS’s authority, we are to do the same. Whether it is next door or in another town or country and make disciples of all people. It is not an option, but a command to all who call JESUS “Lord”. We are not all evangelists in the formal sense, but we have all been given talents or gifts that we can use to help fulfill the Great Commission. As we obey, we have comfort in the knowledge that JESUS is always with us. Nothing to be afraid of, no excuse; GOD can use you. Let us serve with an exciting heart and not a selfish one. This is not an option, it is an instruction. Obey!
NOT TOO LATE JESUS’ death on the cross confused many people, and even today millions of people fail to understand the purpose of this significant event. Even his disciples, in Luke 24:21, did not grasp the full extent of JESUS’ crucifixion. One man though, a criminal, on his side acknowledged by saying in Luke 23:42 “JESUS, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” And look at JESUS’ answer in the next verse; it goes to show that our deeds don’t save us, our faith in CHRIST does. It is never too late to turn to GOD. Yet today people still argue “Nah, there’s still time” or “Not now, I’m not ready”. We fail to realise that our lives will be much more useful and fulfilling if we turn to GOD early. Even those who repent at the very last moment will be with GOD in paradise. Why wait until then, you might not get that chance. JESUS is King; turn to him before it is too late.
JESUS IS REAL Have you ever wished you could actually see JESUS, touch him, and hear his words? Are there times you want to sit down with him and get his advice? Do you want JESUS’ physical presence? GOD has a better plan. He has not limited himself to one physical body; he wants to be present with you at all times. Even now he is with you in the form of the Holy Spirit. You can talk to him, and you can find his words to you in the pages of the Bible. He can be as real to you as he was to his disciples. JESUS says we are blessed if we believe without seeing. A physical appearance would not make JESUS any more real to us than he is now. 31
RESOURCES FOR VICTORY There are five unfailing resources that guarantee spiritual victory. 1) First, the believer must stand in the authority of his position in CHRIST. 2) The second unfailing resource is the Word of GOD. 3) The third resource is a tag team of prayer and fasting. 4) The fourth resource is praise and worship. 5) The fifth resource is the presence of the LORD JESUS CHRIST. There are four vital truths about JESUS that guarantee victory in your life: 1) You have the blood of JESUS for your sins. 2) You have the cross of JESUS to take care of your flesh. 3) You have the name of JESUS for defeating Satan. 4) You have your faith in JESUS as your sure protection. Faith believes GOD when something is not so until it is so because GOD said so. Victory is ours in CHRIST; claim it!
LOVE FOR JESUS All JESUS asks of us is to love him and follow him. In John 21:15-17, Peter faced this very question; three times JESUS asked Peter if he loved him. Peter was guilt-ridden because he disowned JESUS three times before JESUS was crucified. We too should put Peter’s sandals on for a while; we’ve disowned JESUS more times than what we would like to admit to. Today JESUS asks us the very same question he asked Peter. Do you love me? But JESUS used two significant words; “agape” which means “self-sacrificial love” and “phileo” which means “brotherly love” or “signifying affection”. When confronted with this question we have to look at our true feelings and motives, and not just respond with a quick ‘Yes’. How would you respond if JESUS asked you, “Do you truly love me? Do you really love me? Are you even my friend?”
WISE DECISIONS Have you ever come to a point where you had to decide on something and ended up rushing into it? Sure, we all have. When you face a difficult task, an important decision, or a baffling dilemma, don’t rush into it and just hope it comes out the way it should. Instead, make your first step prayer for the Holy Spirit’s power and guidance. Set up criteria consistent with the Bible, examine the alternative, and pray for wisdom and guidance to reach a wise decision. This way GOD gives direction, and we walk in victory, giving him the glory and honour for the outcome. We can’t lead ourselves, someone greater than us should; be wise and let GOD.
PERFECT EXAMPLE Scripture portrays JESUS as the perfect example of a life lived according to GOD’s plan; as a child living in obedience to his parents, as an adult serving GOD and others through preaching and healing, and finally as a condemned man suffering without complaint. JESUS was a real human being who healed people and fed them because he was concerned with their physical health as well as the state of their souls. As believers living according to GOD’s plan, we too should obey our Lord in every detail as we seek to restore people’s bodies and souls to the health and salvation GOD has in store for them. If we want to know how to live a perfect life, we can look to JESUS as our perfect example. JESUS is my L.E.G.S. (Life Example Goal Sufficiency)!
REPENT AND BE BAPTIZED If you want to follow CHRIST, you must “repent and be baptized.” Just feeling sorry for your sins is not enough; you must repent. To repent means to turn from sin, changing the direction of your life from selfishness and rebellion against GOD’s laws. At the same time, you must turn to CHRIST, depending on him for forgiveness, mercy, guidance, and purpose. We cannot save ourselves; only GOD can save us. Baptism identifies us with CHRIST and with the community of believers. It is a condition of discipleship and a sign of faith. My challenge to you as a believer (disciple or apostle): What are you going to do with your faith today? Make a deliberate effort to share it, or are you going to keep it to yourself because you don’t know how to share it? Learn to become an active and effective follower of CHRIST.
GOD’S TIMING In Matthew 28:19, 20 JESUS instructed his disciples to witness to people of all nations about him, but in Luke 24:49 they were told to first wait for the Holy Spirit. GOD has important work for you to do for him, but you must do it by the power of the Holy Spirit. We often like to get on with the job, even if it means running ahead of GOD. But waiting is sometimes part of GOD’s plan. Are you waiting and listening for GOD’s complete instructions, or are you running ahead of his plan? We need GOD’s timing and power to be truly effective. Read your Bible, pray and fast, and wait for the Holy Spirit to move you with awesome power and authority. 32
other name, person or way! Take hold of it and share it.
UNITY IN CHRIST Wearing a patch on your back or not, and who you ride for is not important. What matters though is who you ride with. It is crucial that we recognize the other believers as brothers and sisters in the family of GOD and sharing what we have so that all could benefit from the gifts and talents GOD has blessed us with. It is tempting to cut ourselves off from one another, each taking care of his or her own interests, each providing for and enjoying his or her own little piece of the world. But as part of GOD’s spiritual family, it is our responsibility to help one another in every way possible; praying, loving, and caring for one another. GOD’s family works best when its members work together. Unity in CHRIST is what will make us victors for JESUS; an unstoppable force, united under one authority which is CHRIST JESUS. Today he is asking, “Will you ride with me?” Note: Not for me but with me!
A UNITED CHURCH Differences of opinion are inevitable among people and yes, even among Christians, and can actually be helpful if handled correctly. But spiritual unity such as loyalty, commitment, and love for GOD and his Word, is essential. Without spiritual unity, the church could not survive. Christianity can be attractive, people are drawn to churches because of programs, good speakers, size, beautiful facilities, or fellowship. Instead we should be attracted by expressions of GOD’s power at work, honesty, unity of members, and the character of leaders. Are our standards slipping? GOD wants to add believers to his church, not just newer and better programs or larger and fancier facilities. In 1 Corinthians we are urged toward greater unity as GOD’s church in CHRIST JESUS.
WORTHWHILE COST Sharing the gospel might not result in being put in jail by authorities, like what happened to John and Peter in Acts 4:3-4. Still, we run risks in trying to win others to CHRIST. We might be willing to face a night in jail if it would bring 5000 people to CHRIST, but shouldn’t we also be willing to suffer for the sake of even one? When last have you stepped out of your comfort zone, boldly sharing JESUS, risking rejection or persecution? What is your faith costing you? GOD wants us to press on, trusting him to give us courage through the Holy Spirit and go about sharing the greatest news in the history of the universe. Whatever the risks, realize that nothing done for GOD is ever wasted. Be bold, be courageous, be Christ-like and share your faith no matter what the cost. He died for all, go and tell the world! NO OTHER WAY Many people react negatively to the fact that there is no other name than that of JESUS to call on for salvation. JESUS said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” If GOD designated JESUS to be the Saviour of the world, no one else can be his equal. Christians are to be open-minded on many issues, but not on how we are saved from our sins. No other religious teacher came to earth as GOD’s only Son, to die for our sins, and rose from the dead. No one, nada, nothing! Our focus should be on JESUS, whom GOD offered as the only way to have an eternal relationship with himself. There is no
GOD OVER MAN Faith does not make troubles disappear; it makes troubles less intimidating because it puts them in the right perspective. Don’t expect everyone to react positively when you share something as dynamic as your faith in CHRIST. Some will be jealous, afraid, or threatened. Expect some negative reactions and remember that you must be more concerned about serving GOD than about the reactions of people, just like Peter stated in Acts 5:29 “ We must obey GOD rather than men!” If you are mocked or persecuted for your faith, it isn’t because you are doing something wrong, but because GOD has acknowledged you worthy of suffering for his Name. Let JESUS’ words in Luke 6:22 encourage you: “Blessed are you when men hate you, exclude you, insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.”
your time serving GOD and others with the gifts you do possess.
YOUR FULL ATTENTION When last have you taken part in a church ceremony? Can you still remember the experience, or was it just “same old-same old” to you? We know from experience of repeating the church creeds, saying the Lord’s Prayer, or celebrating a baptism and the Lord’s Supper, that it is difficult to avoid merely going through the motions. We are often guilty of participating passively and mindlessly in religious exercises. This is not healthy for our spiritual growth and relationship with GOD. You will become spiritually numb; dead. Make it your goal to give GOD your full attention (spirit, body and soul) the next time you pray, take communion, or take part in a church ceremony. Those who participate thoughtfully will be reminded of and filled with profound spiritual truths.
DON’T LIMIT GOD “Not him Lord; that’s impossible. He could never become a Christian!” Does this sound familiar to you? It is not always easy to love others, especially when they’ve persecuted you or doubt their motives. We must not limit GOD; he can do anything. We must obey his leading, even when he leads us to difficult people or places. Witnessing the result of your obedience in sharing your faith is a very rewarding experience. Sometimes GOD breaks into a life in a spectacular manner, and sometimes conversion is a quiet experience. Beware of people who insist that you must have a particular conversion experience. The right way to lead someone to faith in JESUS is whatever way GOD brings to you. Be obedient, be committed and never deny someone faith in CHRIST. Denying someone the gift of life is like rejecting it yourself.
ARE YOU CHICKEN? Have you ever shared your faith with a person or a group of people and they started to curse you, wanting to kill you, assault you, stone or crucify you, spit in your face or throw you out the door? I didn’t think so. None of us have had the privilege of being persecuted this way for the gospel. And if you were, would you chicken out and stop sharing your faith in CHRIST or would you continue to stand no matter what? Our words of truth should pierce their souls. Some will be convicted by the Holy Spirit, and others will become angry and hardened in their hatred of the truth. JESUS said in John 15:21, “They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me.” We shouldn’t be surprised or abandon our faith when we are persecuted. In faith, having done all to stand; stand! GOD’S POWER “Everything has a price” seems to be true in our world of bribes, wealth, and materialism (corruption). The only way to receive GOD’s power is to repent, ask GOD for forgiveness, and be filled with his Spirit. No amount of money can buy salvation, forgiveness of sin, or GOD’s power. These are only gained by repentance and belief in CHRIST as Saviour. In addition, GOD doesn’t give us abilities to enhance our own lives. He grants us, through his power, gifts or talents so that we may bring him glory by building up others. When you find yourself wishing for an ability that would put you into the limelight or somehow enrich you personally, check your motives. Instead of sitting around wishing for talents you don’t have, spend
ROYALTY THROUGH CHRIST Identity with CHRIST is the key to a healthy selfimage. The world says, “You are nothing,” but GOD says, “You are royalty.” (Romans 5:17). The enemy says, “You have no future,” but GOD is preparing you to reign with Him in glory. The devil will tell you that you are unimportant and what you do is insignificant. Only what touches your spirit can really hurt you. Don’t allow what happens to you or what is said to you affect what GOD says about you. When we realize that we have JESUS and that He is our righteousness, then this motivation enables us to live out what we are in JESUS. You are not a sinner saved by grace; you were a sinner. Now you are a saint and a family member. Why would you live less than you are in CHRIST?
us use our suffering to strengthen us and glorify him. GOD created and modifies us down here, so we can fit perfectly up there in heaven with him one day. Allow your Creator free will in you or you will remain an incomplete and useless creation in yourself.
YOU NEED TO GO There are people all around us; friends, family, strangers who seek GOD and some who are ready to receive the gospel - but someone must take it to them. Seeking GOD is not enough; people must find him. How can they find GOD without someone to point the way? Is GOD asking you to show someone the way to him? Read Romans 10:14, 15. You’ll see that we must take GOD’s great message of salvation to others so that they can respond to the Good News. GOD is calling you to take part in making his message known to all people around you. How will they hear it if you don’t tell them? Think of one person, who needs to hear the Good News, and think of something you can do to help him or her hear it. Take that step as soon as possible, then come back here and share the testimony. Let’s see how effective we can be for CHRIST! Or remain the selfish and disobedient Christians we used to be…
THE POWER OF MULTIPLICATION If a chessboard, containing 64 squares, were to have a grain of rice placed upon each square such that one grain were placed on the first square, two on the second, four on the third, and so on (doubling the number of grains on each subsequent square), how many grains of rice would be on the 64th square of the chessboard? The total number of grains equals 18,446,744,073,709,551,615, which is a much higher number than you would expect. Now bring the gospel into this. Help one person believe in CHRIST, teach and encourage him for 6 months and then the two of you help two new people; at the end of 12 months you’ll be 4 people following CHRIST. Now do this for the rest of your life; what do you think heaven will look like? Remember, don’t chase numbers, but chase souls for JESUS and he will do the multiplication. It starts with one grain; you! No go forth and multiply!
NEW CHRISTIANS As an infant in CHRIST we knew how important it was to obtain spiritual nourishment; good food to help us grow into a mature Christian and follower of CHRIST JESUS. It is important that we demonstrate strong faith, minister joyfully to new believers with kindness and encouragement and teach them about GOD. Think of ways to help them grow in their faith. See the importance of follow-through and training. Have you helped someone believe in CHRIST? Spend time teaching and encouraging that person. Are you a new believer? Remember you are just beginning your Christian life. Your faith can only grow and mature through consistent Bible study, teaching and prayer. We should never stop growing in our faith, and if we do we’ll grow arrogant and die. Never stop and never let go! CREATED FOR A PURPOSE I’m sure we’ve all, sometime in life, created or made something just to modify it a little before using it for a specific purpose. Like customizing a bike, car or clothing for instance. Life is full of difficult questions like: Why is one person physically disabled and another physically gifted? Why do people die seemingly before reaching their full potential? Why does one person die and another lives? We cannot answer these questions in this life because we do not see what GOD sees. He has created us; so he can have his way with us, modify us so he can use us for a specific purpose - his glory. We need to trust GOD’s leading because he promised to help
SEEK GOD’s WILL To know GOD’s will does not mean we must hear his voice. He leads in different ways. When seeking GOD’s will, make sure your plan is in harmony with GOD’s Word; ask mature Christians for their advice; check your own motives to see if you are seeking to do what you want or what you think GOD wants; pray for GOD to open and close the doors as he desires. The Holy Spirit guides us to the right places, but he also guides us away from the wrong places. As we seek GOD’s will, we need to know what GOD wants us to do and where he wants us to go, but we also need to know what GOD does not want us to do and where he does not want us to go. Read Matthew 6:33 and submit your will to GOD’s will and allow him to take you places.
tell others what good things GOD has done for us. His blessings far outweigh life’s difficulties. Be compelled by the Holy Spirit, be drawn irresistibly by the Holy Spirit to finish the race.
STICK TO THE TRUTH Today we have a “Christian” society, but to most people, GOD is still unknown. We need to proclaim who he is and make it clear what he did for all people through his Son JESUS CHRIST. We cannot assume that even religious people around us truly know JESUS or understand the importance of faith in him. Don’t ever hesitate to tell others about CHRIST because you fear that some will not believe you. Don’t expect an all positive response to your witnessing. Don’t hold back the truth, no matter what people might think; change your approach to fit your audience, but never change your basic message about the truth that is CHRIST JESUS. Even if only a few believe, it’s worth the effort. John 14:6 says, Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” This is the basic message, this is the truth. Amen!
PRIORITIZE YOU FOOL I often felt that life is a failure unless I’m getting a lot out of it: recognition, fun, money, success. I’ve come to realise that my life is worth nothing unless it is used for GOD’s work. What I put into life should be far more important than what I get out. Single mindedness is a quality needed by anyone who wishes to do GOD’s work. The most important goal in my life should be to tell others about CHRIST. GOD is looking for more men and women who focus on that one great task GOD has given us to do. I’ve taken time this last week to examine my attitude toward wealth and comfort and realised I was focussing more on what I don’t have, so it is time to rearrange my priorities and put GOD’s work back in first place. Which is more important to you - what you get out of life, or what you put into it?
STAY AWAY People can easily become trapped by cooked up or man-made ideas to give wealth, happiness, and success in business; Satan is very powerful. Occult practice is as common today as it was in Bible times. In Deuteronomy 18:9-13, GOD clearly forbids such practices. You cannot be a believer and hold on to the occult. I tried; I was a Freemason for 2 years before GOD, through the Holy Spirit, showed me truth and the way out. Once you begin to dabble in these areas, you may become obsessed by them, and even drag your family down with you, but GOD’s power is even greater. If you are mixed up in the occult, ask for help quickly and get rid of anything that could trap you in such life-faith-soul destroying practices. Read Revelation 20:10 and decide, then allow the power of GOD to rule in your life, and not the power of Satan. Thank you JESUS for setting me free! THE CHRISTIAN LIFE The way of the believer is not an easy road; being a Christian does not solve or remove all problems. In Acts 20:18-21 Paul tells us to serve humbly and “with tears”, never quit, never give up. The message of salvation is so important that we should never miss an opportunity to share it. And although we share the message in different ways to fit different audiences, the message should remain the same - turn away from sin and turn to CHRIST by faith. The Christian life will have its rough times, tears, and sorrows, as well as joys, but we should always be ready to
REPRESENT CHRIST When you witness for CHRIST, you need to first identify yourself with the audience. They will be much more likely to listen if they feel a common bond with you. Sound reasoning is good, but it is also important to simply share what CHRIST has done in our lives. No matter how we present the message, however, not everyone will accept it. We must faithfully and responsibly present the gospel, and leave the results to GOD. If we are sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit, we will see increased opportunities to share our faith, even in the face of opposition. As Christians, we are to represent CHRIST. When those around us say, “I didn’t know you were a Christian”, we have failed to represent him as we should. We are not merely CHRIST’s followers, we are his representatives to others.
unpleasant situation, look for ways to redeem the circumstances. There is never a time or place in which you can’t glorify and serve GOD. The message is still the same – that JESUS CHRIST is Saviour and Lord fro all who call on him. Today we can be the unsung heroes in the continuing story of the spread of the gospel. Go and take it to your world so that many more may hear and believe.
WAIT ON GOD Note I said “wait” and not “give up”, “get angry”, or “lose hope”. What do you do when it comes to the issue of waiting on GOD? Do you become anxious to share the gospel, angry because you don’t get an opportunity, or discouraged because people don’t want to listen? Many people will be happy to discuss the gospel with you as long as it doesn’t get too personal. When it does, some will resist or run. But this is what the gospel is all about; GOD’s power to change lives. The gospel is not effective until it moves from principles and doctrine into a life-changing dynamic. When someone resists or run from your witness, you most certainly succeeded in making the gospel personal. The important thing is to wait on GOD. Few things test our patience and faith like being forced to wait, which explains why our almighty GOD often puts us in situations where we have no other choice but to wait on his instruction.
TWO SIDES OF CHRISTIAN LIFE Yes I know, there might be more to it; you think. Let’s keep it simple and you’ll see. On the one side, we are complete in CHRIST (our acceptance with him is secure). On the other side, we are growing in CHRIST (we are becoming more and more like him). At one and the same time we have the status of kings and the duties of slaves. We enjoy the peace that comes from being made right with GOD, but we still face daily problems that often help us grow. If we remember these two sides of the Christian life, we will not grow discouraged as we face temptations and problems. Instead, we will learn to depend on the power available to us from CHRIST, who lives in us by the Holy Spirit. Read Romans 5:1-5 and find real peace on the one side and real joy on the other.
CHOOSE TO LIVE Have you ever come to a point in life where you had to make a very difficult decision, a life changing decision? If not then this might be that very day – a decision to live. So many people stopped within hearing distance of the kingdom of GOD. They left themselves without and excuse. They heard the gospel but decided it wasn’t worth responding to personally. Sadly this mistake is not uncommon. Some of you who read this right now also will not believe. Your problem is not really that the gospel isn’t convincing or that you don’t need to know GOD personally; it is that you choose not to respond. What has been your response to the gospel? Has it turned your life around and given you the hope of eternal life, or has it been a message to resist or reject? Perhaps it has just been entertainment. It may seem like too great a price to give GOD control of your life, but the price is minimal compared to living with Satan because you have chosen not to be a child of GOD your Father. The choice is yours – Live or Die! HEROES FOR CHRIST Romans 8:28 tells us that “In all things GOD works fro the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose”. You can trust GOD to do the same for you, just as he did for Paul and many others who endured trials for the sake of the Kingdom of GOD. GOD may not make you comfortable or secure but he will provide the opportunity to do his work. So, if you find yourself in a “negative” or
A CHRISTIAN OR NOT Have you ever worried about whether or not you really are a Christian? A Christian is anyone who has the Spirit of GOD living in him or her. If you have sincerely trusted CHRIST for your salvation and acknowledged him as Lord, then the Holy Spirit has come into your life, and you are a Christian. You won’t know that the Holy Spirit has come if you are waiting for a certain feeling; you will know he has come because JESUS promised he would. When the Holy Spirit is working within you, you will believe that JESUS CHRIST is GOD’s Son and that eternal life comes through him (1 John 5:5): you will begin to act as CHRIST directs (Romans 8:5); you will find help in your daily problems and in your praying (Romans 8:26, 27); you will be empowered to serve GOD and do his will (Acts 1:8); and you will become part of GOD’s plan to build up his Church (Ephesians 4:12,13). So, are you a Christian or not?
HOPE IN CHRIST It is easy to lose heart and quit when faced with problems in our relationships or in work. It can cause us to think about laying down the tools and walking away. Rather than giving up when persecution wears you down, concentrate on experiencing the inner strength from the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:16). Don’t let fatigue, pain, or criticism force you off the job at hand. Renew your commitment to serving CHRIST. Don’t forsake your eternal reward because of the intensity of today’s pain. Knowing that we will live forever with GOD in a place without sin and suffering can help us live above the pain that we face in this life. Your very weakness allows the resurrection power of CHRIST to strengthen you moment by moment. Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 4:8-12 that though we think we are at the end of our rope, we are never at the end of our hope that is in CHRIST JESUS.
SALVATION IS FOR YOU Do you ever think that because you aren’t good enough for GOD, he will not save you? Do you ever feel as if salvation is for everyone else but you? Then Romans 8:31-34 is especially for you. If GOD gave his Son for you, he isn’t going to hold back the gift of salvation! If CHRIST gave his life for you, he isn’t going to turn around and condemn you! He will not withhold anything you need to live for him. Sure, it is natural for children to trust their parents, even though parents don’t always keep their promises. Your heavenly Father, however, never makes promises he won’t keep. Trust GOD and call out to his Son, salvation is the free gift of life; the price has already been paid. Claim it, it’s yours! JESUS LIVES There will always be people who say that JESUS didn’t die and rise from the dead. In Bible times, Christianity often brought a person persecution, rejection from family, and in many cases, poverty. There were few real benefits from being a Christian in that society. It was certainly not a step up the social or career ladder. Even more important, however, is the fact that if CHRIST did not die and been resurrected from death, Christians could not be forgiven for their sins and would have no hope of eternal life. If what Christians believe is a lie, we would be pitiful because we would be going through such suffering for no purpose. Fortunately, that is not the case. I have proof, JESUS lives, and you need to believe it!
FAITH CHECK We are saved by GOD’s grace through faith in CHRIST JESUS. Right? Love others and for GOD is the response of those whom GOD has forgiven. GOD’s forgiveness is complete. Correct? When Christians lose the motivation of love, we become critical of others. We stop looking for good in them and see only their faults. Soon we lose our unity. Have you focused on others’ shortcomings instead of their strengths? Remind yourself of JESUS’s command in Matthew 22:39 to love others as you love yourself. When you begin to feel critical of someone, make a list of that person’s positive qualities. When problems need to be addressed, confront in love rather than gossip. Because faith expresses itself through love, you can check your love for others as a way to monitor your faith.
KEEP AT IT In 1 Corinthians 15:58 Paul says that because of the resurrection, nothing we do to the glory of GOD is in vain. Sometimes we hesitate to do good because we don’t see any or immediate results. But if we can maintain a heavenly perspective, we will understand that we often will not see the good that results from our efforts. If we truly believe that CHRIST has won the ultimate victory, that fact must affect the way we live right now. Don’t let discouragement over an apparent lack of results keep you from working for GOD. Do the good at every opportunity he gives you, knowing that your work will have eternal results. Your Father in heaven sees every deed; you will be rewarded. Let JESUS be your strength and keep at it.
if the truth is painful. The instruction here is to do both: Speak the truth, but do it in a loving manner. Think of the trouble we would spare ourselves of we followed this practice, especially among believers. When you have a problem with another believer, don’t go to someone else with it. Go directly to that person and speak the truth in love. Now on the other hand when a believer comes to speak to you, watch your attitude and accept the truth in love.
KNOWING GOD Did you know that there’s a difference between knowing about someone and actually knowing someone? How do you get to know someone? Just by word of mouth or reading up on that person? Sure, that might help you know a lot about that person, but you won’t actually know him. If you want to get to know someone, you have to spend time with that person; there is no shortcut. The same is true with GOD. Reading the Bible and devotional material is wonderful, but there is no substitute for knowing GOD personally. What about you? Do you really know GOD, or do you just know about him? The difference is in spending time with him. Study JESUS’ life in the Gospels to see what he was like on earth 2000 years ago, and get to know him in prayer every day. Yes, don’t just read about him but study it, spend time in prayer (talking to GOD your Father) and get to know him through CHRIST JESUS. He wants to have a personal relationship with you. Don’t you? Personal knowledge of CHRIST will change your life!
WILLINGNESS TO SERVE Often people excuse selfishness, pride, or evil by claiming their rights thinking that they are god of their own universe. They think, “I can cheat on this test; after all, I deserve to pass”, or “I can spend all this money on myself; I worked hard for it”, or “I can get an abortion; I have the right the control my own body”, or “I can kill that person; I decide what’s right and what’s wrong”. But as believers, we should have a different attitude, one that enables us to lay aside our rights in order to serve others. If we say we follow CHRIST, we must also say we want to live as he lived. We should develop his attitude of humility as we serve, even when we are not likely to get recognition for our efforts. Are you clinging to your rights, do you think you are god of your own little universe, or are you willing to serve? Choose your attitude expecting to be served, or you can look for opportunities to serve others.
GOD’s FULLNESS GOD has given his followers (the church; not confined to a building, but people united in CHRIST) an enormous responsibility – to make disciples in every nation. This involves preaching, teaching, healing, nurturing, giving, administering, building and many other tasks. If we had to fulfill this command as individuals, we might as well give up without even trying – it would be impossible. But GOD calls us as members of his body. Some of us can do one task; some can do another. Together we can obey GOD more fully than any of us could alone. It is a human tendency to think we can dot it all by ourselves not even think what we can achieve as a group. But as the body of CHRIST, we can accomplish more together than we would dream possible working by ourselves. The fullness of GOD is expressed only in CHRIST (Colossians 2:9,10). Together in CHRIST we stand, and divided we fall. SPEAK IN LOVE Speaking the truth in love is not always easy, convenient or pleasant, but it is necessary. A mark of a mature Christian is “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). This sounds so simple, but it seems so hard for us to do. Some of us are fairly good at speaking the truth, but we forget to be loving. Some of us are good at being loving, but we don’t have it in us to level with others
HORRIBLE PERSON In Philippians 3:19 Paul gets tough with the people who live to satisfy their own appetites, who believe so strongly in their greatness that they become slaves to pride. Have you looked at your life lately? What a horrible person I must be – so concerned with earthly goals that during worship our minds wander; so consumed with work that worship is inconvenient; so busy planning the next event that there is no time for prayer. Paul says we are heading for destruction because all we can think about is this life on earth. We should ask ourselves: Is too much of our time spent on efforts that will not last in eternity, seeking earthly pleasures, or satisfying our physical desires? We must set our minds on knowing CHRIST, not on the pursuits of this world. A worldly pursuit is futile, but pursuing CHIRST JESUS is eternally rewarding.
should give birth to gratitude (not complacency). Human responsibility requires that we actively confess CHRIST as Lord, focus on living to please him, and share the gospel with others. GOD’s choice of us energizes us to obey and to serve. Our choice of GOD challenges us to build lives worthy of him. As you consider GOD’s divine selection of you, how do you respond? Choose today to accept him, not reject him for you are chosen!
FULFILLMENT IN CHRIST Look around you. People are searching for something to give their lives a boost. Few people seem content within themselves. A strange and often hard-to-identify inner vacuum gives most people an uneasy sense of incompleteness. CHRIST can fill that vacuum! When you know JESUS CHRIST, you don’t need to seek GOD by means of other religions, cults, or unbiblical beliefs. CHRIST alone holds the answers to the true meaning of life, because he is life. CHRIST is the unique source of knowledge and power for the Christian life. No Christian needs anything in addition to what CHRIST has provided to be saved. Some days may not feel like it, but in JESUS, the vacuum is gone, the full power and presence of GOD have taken up residence in your mind and heart. You are a new person, equipped for life and satisfied in GOD. Take some risks; GOD will guide you. Give more generously; GOD will supply. Love more freely; GOD will energize you. Say “can do” more often; GOD will amaze you.
CHRIST WILL COME It is good that we don’t know exactly when CHRIST will return. If we knew the precise date, we might be tempted to be lazy in our work for CHRIST. Worse yet, we might plan to keep sinning and then turn to GOD right at the end. Heaven is not our only goal; we have work to do here and now. Christians must keep on doing GOD’s work until death or until we see the unmistakable return of our Saviour. Don’t be misled by anyone who claims to know CHRIST’s time of return. We are told in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3 that no one knows and that even believers will be surprised. The Lord will return suddenly and unexpectedly, so be ready! Because no one knows when JESUS will come back to earth (don’t be a fool and deny this), we should be prepared at all times. Suppose he was to return today. How would he find you living? Are you ready to meet him? Live each moment prepared to welcome CHRIST.
NEW CLOTHES Paul tells us in Colossians 3:8-10 that we are to rid ourselves of the old life and “put on” the new way of living given by CHRIST and guided by the Holy Spirit. What does it mean to “put on the new self”? It means that our conduct should match our faith. If you are a Christian, you should act like it. To be a Christian means more than just making good resolutions and having good intentions; it means taking the right actions. This is a straightforward step that is as simple as putting on your clothes. You must rid yourself of all evil practices and immorality (Colossians 3:58). Then you can commit yourself to what CHRIST teaches. If you have made such a commitment to CHRIST, are you remaining true to it? What old clothes do you need to strip off, or are you still walking in the old pair of socks? Strip yourself naked before CHRIST and let him clothe you in righteousness, and his will and purpose for your life. GOD CHOSE FIRST It is difficult to simultaneously embrace GOD’s sovereignty in choosing us, and our human responsibility in choosing to follow him. Even though we may not be able to completely understand how these two truths can coexist, we can say the following: Being chosen comes from the heart of GOD (not our minds), should be an incentive to please GOD (not ignore him), and
PERSEVERING FAITH When faced with crushing troubles, we can have faith that GOD is using our trials for our good and for his glory. As we live for CHRIST, we will experience troubles because we are trying to be GOD’s people in a perverse world. Some people say that troubles are the result of sin or lack of faith. As that may be true, Paul teaches us in 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10 that they may be part of GOD’s plan for believers. Our problems can help us look upward and forward, instead of inward and downward, they can build strong character, and they can provide us with opportunities to comfort others who also are struggling. Your troubles may be an indication that you are taking a stand for CHRIST. When you do so, you are experiencing the privilege of showing that you are worthy of GOD’s kingdom. To be worthy means to want to do what is right and good by faith in CHRIST JESUS, until we see him face-toface one day soon. 40
ENCOURAGE OTHERS Many people around us need encouragement. Each day we have many opportunities to support and inspire family members, fellow workers, friends, and even total strangers. People need help all along the way. Don’t you? In 1 Timothy 4:12-16, Paul gives us six important ways to help us encourage others: 1) Begin with encouragement. People who know we will encourage them will be happy to work with us. 2) Expect of others only what you expect of yourself. People will resist being held to unfair standards. 3) Develop expectations of others with consideration for their skills, maturity, and experience. People will reject or fail to meet expectations that do not fit them. Be patient with distracted or slow learners. 4) Monitor your expectations of others. Changing circumstances sometimes require revised or reduced expectations. 5) Clarify your expectations with others. People are not likely to hit a target that no one has identified. 6) End with encouragement. People love to be thanked for a job well done. Today, with compassion and understanding, encourage the first person you come in contact with and see the reward blossoming in front of you, glorifying GOD in doing so.
QUESTIONABLE ACTIVITES Too many Christians wonder why they are depressed after they spend hours watching soapies, “Hell’s Box Office”, and other questionable television offerings. If this is an issue for you, unplug the TV if you have to! Get some self-control into your life. Quit reading wrong things. Saturate yourself with the Bible. Perhaps you are saying, “I don’t really believe that some of these things are wrong for me to do or watch.” Know this, if it is making you miserable, it is wrong! Romans 14:22 says, “Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.” Here is what this verse is saying: “Happy is the man who doesn’t walk in condemnation because of the stuff he is allowing in his life.” If you feel guilty about it, quit it, regardless of whether others agree or not. If it is something in your life that shouldn’t be there, remove it. Get rid of horoscopes. Throw off any charm you are wearing around your neck that honours the devil. Get rid of any kind of music that glorifies the flesh and the enemy. Begin to get your life in order. Begin to sow into your life things that overflow with joy. If you are still not sure if something is right or wrong, ask yourself these questions: “Can I do this activity without hurting a fellow Christian? Can I maintain my witness to the lost? Can I do it and not live under condemnation? Psalm 144:15 says, “Happy are those people who are in such a state; happy are the people whose GOD is Lord!” Your circumstances may be too big for you, but they are not too big for Him. God is saying to you today, “Give it to me!” TIME WASTED IS TIME LOST The lack of activity in the church or among believers only leads to sin. Inactive people become a burden to the church; they waste time that could be used for helping others, and they become “busybodies”. A “busybody” is a gossip. An idle person who doesn’t work ends up filling his or her time with less than helpful activities, like gossip. Rumors and hearsay are tantalizing, exciting to hear, and make us feel like insiders. But they tear people down. If you often find your nose in other people’s business, you may be underemployed. Look for a task to do for CHRIST or for your family, and get to work. We should make the most of our talents and time, doing all we can to provide for ourselves and helping others. Rest when you should be resting, work when you should be working, and pray when you feel like gossiping. Honour CHRIST with your time, don’t waste it!
WEALTH AND HAPPINESS Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, most people still believe that money brings happiness. Rich people craving greater riches can be caught in an endless cycle that only ends in ruin and destruction. Paul says in 1 Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” How can you keep away from the love of money? Having riches carries great responsibility. If you have been blessed with wealth, thank the Lord for it. Don’t be proud and don’t trust in your money. GOD gave it to you; GOD can take it away in an instant. Be more concerned with the riches of eternal life than that of a temporal life. Use your money to do good. Be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share. No matter how much money you have, your life should demonstrate that GOD controls the wealth that he has placed in your care. The only alternative is to be a slave to your desires.
reward, awaits you at the top. Perseverance is not a way to be saved but the evidence that you are really committed to JESUS.
PLEASURE OR GOD Why is it so easy to love pleasure rather than GOD? Pleasure is something we can control; GOD cannot be controlled. Most pleasures can easily be obtained; love for GOD requires effort and sometimes sacrifice. Pleasure benefits us now, the benefits of loving GOD are often in the future. Pleasure has a narcotic effect; it takes our minds off our problems and ourselves. Love for GOD reminds us of our needs and our responsibilities. Pleasure cooperates with pride. It makes us feel good when we look good in the eyes of others. To love GOD we must lay aside our pride and our accomplishments. Have you chosen to love pleasure, or to love GOD? How do you know?
WHY ME? Many believers think that pain is the exception in the Christian life. When suffering occurs, we say, “Why me?” You feel as though GOD deserted you, or perhaps you accuse him of not being as dependable as you thought. In reality, however, we live in an evil world filled with suffering, even for believers. But GOD is still in control. He allows some Christians to suffer for their faith, and he allows others to survive persecution. Rather than asking, “Why me?” it is much more helpful to ask, “Why not me?” Our faith and the values of this world are on a collision course. If we expect pain and suffering to come, we will not be shocked when it hits. Thousands suffered for their faith before us (Hebrews 11), we can also take comfort in knowing that JESUS suffered for you and me. And look where he is today! He understands our fears, our weaknesses, and our disappointments. He promised never to leave us, and he intercedes on our behalf. In times of pain, persecution, or suffering we should trust confidently in CHRIST.
TRUE HUMILITY How does one “show true humility”? Humility is a very elusive character trait, yet the Bible regards it as a highly important quality. In Romans 12:3, Paul gives us a clear definition of humility: “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith GOD has given you.” Humility, then, boils down to having an honest estimate of yourselves before GOD. We show false humility when we project negative worth on our abilities and effort. We show pride when we inflate the value of our efforts or look down on others. True humility seeks to view our character and accomplishments honestly. Recognizing that we have succeeded in an effort need not be pride. GOD created you; you are nothing unless GOD makes you into something or someone for his glory and honour. The only time you should be looking down on someone is when you are helping that person to stand up. KEEP CLIMBING The Bible gives us a clear choice between two life directions. Because life often forks off in two directions, you need to take the higher road, even though it looks more difficult and treacherous. That road gets steep in places. The climb takes a toll on your energy. It gets lonely. Not many are on it, but more than you imagined, and some because of your example. It gets slippery as Satan blows ice on the road up. Despite its dangers, the higher road is bound for the top, and you’ll make it. GOD has a lifeline around you. When you are tempted to fall or turn back from following CHRIST, keep focused on what he has done for you and what he offers in the future. Then keep climbing; everlasting life, the eternal
DISCIPLINED BY GOD Who loves his child more – the father who allows his child to do what he wants, or the father who corrects, trains, and even punishes his child to help him learn what is right? It’s never pleasant to be corrected and disciplined by GOD, but his discipline is a sign of his deep love of us. When GOD corrects you, see it as proof of his love and ask him what he is trying to teach you. Now, we may respond to discipline in several ways: 1) we can be arrogant and reject it altogether; 2) we can accept it with self-pity, thinking we really don’t deserve it; 3) we can be angry and resentful toward GOD; or 4) we can accept it gratefully, as the appropriate response we owe a loving Father. Choose today to honour your Father, and trust his discipline for your own good.
I LIKE YOU MORE Often we treat a well-dressed, impressive-looking person better than someone who looks shabby. We do this because we would rather identify with successful people than with apparent failures. Are you easily impressed by status, wealth, or fame? Do you favour the “haves” while ignoring the “have-nots”? This attitude is sinful. Why is it wrong to show favouritism? It is inconsistent with CHRIST’s teachings. It results from evil thoughts. It insults people made in GOD’s image. It is a by-product of selfish motives. It goes against the Biblical definition of love. It shows a lack of mercy to those less fortunate. It is hypocritical. It is sin. GOD views all people as equals, and if he favours anyone, it is the poor and the powerless. We should follow his example because if we say that CHRIST is out Lord, then we must live as he requires, showing no favouritism and loving all people regardless of whether they are rich or poor.
FILLED WITH JESUS In Mark 7:31-37 JESUS heals a deaf-mute and teaches us a very important life-lesson. You see, man was never created to be separated from his Creator. The creation was never intended to be inhabited by evil. JESUS healing this man showed us that “It was never intended for you to be this way,” or “Your ears weren’t made to be deaf, your tongue wasn’t made to stumble.” JESUS is the healer of the physical and spiritual if only you’d let him. The sad fact is that we become spiritually deaf when we ignore GOD’s Word, and spiritual mute when we stop proclaiming it. How can you hear GOD’s Word and not talk about it? How can you talk about JESUS but never heard his voice? Because you are a deaf-mute and need the healing touch of CHRIST to open your ears and loosen your tongue. See your life as a glass filled with sin, the things you’ve chosen (allowed Satan) to put in it. Take a small glass and fill it with Coke (or something dark) which represents sin, then take it to a tap, open it and see how the clear water (JESUS) replaces the “dark and sin” in your life until the glass (your life) runs over with JESUS. Fill your life glass with fresh “water” every day, the more you fill your life with JESUS, the less room (or no room at all) will there be for sin and the things that are not intended for your life. JESUS wants to heal you, he wants to fill you with the Holy Spirit – allow him to do so or live with the “Coke in your glass” and see who waits for you when you die.
WATCH YOUR MOUTH What you say and what you don’t say are both important. Proper speech is not only saying the right words at the right time, but it is also controlling your desire to say what you shouldn’t. In James 3:6 the tongue is compared with a raging fire, the uncontrolled tongue can do terrible damage. Satan uses the tongue to divide people and put them against one another. We dare not be careless with what we say, thinking we can apologize later, because even if we do, the scars remain. A few words spoken in an instant and in anger can destroy a relationship that took years to build. Before you speak ask, “Is what I want to say true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?” Remember this: when the Holy Spirit purifies a heart, he gives self-control so that the person will speak words that please GOD. Honour GOD with your mouth always!
WHAT’S YOUR EXCUSE It is easy to blame others and make excuses for evil thoughts and wrong actions. I’m sure you are familiar with some of these: 1) it’s the other person’s fault; 2) I couldn’t help it; 3) everybody’s doing it; 4) it was just a mistake; 5) nobody’s perfect; 6) the Devil made me do it; 7) I was forced into it; 8) I didn’t know it was wrong; 9) GOD is tempting me. A person who makes excuses is trying to shift the blame from himself to something or someone else. People often wonder why they have temptations. Does GOD tempt them? GOD tests people, but he does not tempt them by trying to seduce them into sin. That is Satan and you are stepping right into his trap. The buck stops with you, you are responsible for your thoughts, actions, and decisions. Come before GOD and confess all to him, ask for his forgiveness and strength; or are you already thinking of an excuse not to. 43
faith must go beyond what we believe; it must become a dynamic part of all we do, resulting in good fruit and spiritual maturity. What does your life say about your faith?
GROW UP One characteristic all children share is that they want to grow up to be like big brother or sister or like their parents. Yes sure, not all of us had good parents, and here’s the reason why. When we are born again, we become spiritual newborn babies. If we are healthy, we will desire to grow. How sad it is that some people never grow up. The need for milk is a natural instinct for a baby, and it signals the desire fro nourishment that will lead to growth. Once we see our need for GOD’s Word and begin to find nourishment in CHRIST, our spiritual appetite will increase, and will start to mature. How strong is your desire for GOD’s Word?
BLOOD OF CHRIST How does the blood of JESUS purify us from every sin? Real cleansing from sin comes with JESUS, the “Lamb of GOD, who takes away the sin of this world” (John 1:29). Sin, by its very nature, brings death – that is a fact as certain as the law of gravity. JESUS did not die for his own sins, he had none. Instead, by a transaction that we may never fully understand, he died for the sins of the world. When we commit our lives to CHRIST and thus identify ourselves with him, his death becomes ours. He has paid the penalty for our sins, and his blood has purified us. Just as CHRIST rose from the grave, we rise to a new life of fellowship with him (Romans 6:14). Today as we celebrate Christmas, let us remember John 3:16 and be truly grateful for GOD’s perfect gift of love, life, hope and peace. Let us celebrate JESUS not just today but every day of our lives. He died for you, so you may live for him.
LOVE YOUR WIFE A man who honours his wife as a member of the weaker sex will protect, respect, help, and stay with her. He will not expect her to work fulltime outside the home and full-time at home; he will lighten her load wherever he can. He will be sensitive to her needs, and he will relate to her with courtesy, consideration, insight, and tact. If a man is not considerate and respectful of his wife, his prayers will be hindered, because a living relationship with GOD depends on a right relationship with others. JESUS said that if you have a problem with a fellow believer, you must make it right with that person before coming to worship (Matthew 5:23, 24). This principle also applies to family relationships. If men use their position to mistreat their wives, their relationship with GOD will suffer. Treat your wife with sympathy, love, compassion, humility and inherit the blessing GOD has promised you. FAITH IN ACTION Many believers want an abundance of GOD’s grace and peace, but they are unwilling to make any effort in getting to know GOD better through Bible study and prayer. The power to grow doesn’t come from within us, but from GOD. Faith must be more than belief in certain facts; it must result in action, growth in Christian character, and the practice of moral discipline, or it will die away. Listed in 2 Peter 1:5-7 are several faith actions, these actions do not come automatically; they require hard work. They are not optional; all of them must be a continual part of the Christian life. We don’t finish one and start on the next, but we have to work on them all together. GOD empowers and enables us, but he also gives us the responsibility to learn and to grow. But to do this, he demands our discipline and effort. Our
A PRAYER REQUEST In 1 Chronicles 4:10 we read about a man called Jabez. Ever heard of him? He is remembered for a prayer request rather than a heroic act. In his prayer, he asked GOD to bless him, help him in his work, protect and keep him from any harm. Do you know why GOD granted his request? Jabez acknowledged GOD as the true center of his life. When we pray for GOD’s blessing, we should also pray that he will take his rightful position as Lord over our work, family, and recreation. We live in a fallen world filled with sin, and it is important to ask GOD to protect us from any harm that might come our way. We must avoid evil motives, desires, and actions that begin within us. No only must we seek GOD’s protection, but we must also ask GOD to guard our thoughts and actions. Obeying him in daily responsibilities is heroic living, and it starts with a prayer request.
common ground with those to whom we witness, we must be careful not to fall into the trap of compromise. When reaching out to others, we must be sure that our own footing (faith) is safe and secure. Be careful not to become so much like non-Christians that no one can tell who you are or what you believe. Influence them for CHRIST as a matter of life and death, but don’t allow yourself to be influenced to sin!
LESS THAN THE BEST The antichrists are not total strangers to the church; they once had been in the church, but they did not really belong to it. We may not know the reasons why they left; but it is clear that their reasons for joining in the first place were wrong. Some people may call themselves Christians for less than the best reasons. Perhaps going to church is a family tradition. Maybe they like the social and business contacts they make there. Or possibly going to church is a long-standing habit, and they have never stopped to ask themselves why they do it. Unless it is a Christcentered reason, you may not really belong. The good news is that you don’t have to settle for less than the best. You can become personally acquainted with JESUS CHRIST and become a loyal, trustworthy follower. What is your main reason for being a Christian?
TRANSFORMED LIFE Many Christians hesitate to witness about their faith in CHRIST because they don’t feel the change in their lives has been spectacular enough. But you qualify as a witness for JESUS because of what he has done for you, not because of what you have done for him. CHRIST demonstrated his great love by setting us free from our sins through his death on the cross, guaranteeing us a place in his kingdom, and making us priests to administer GOD’s love to others. The fact that the all-powerful GOD has offered life to you is nothing short of spectacular. Now, in Bible times many Christians faced persecution for their faith, and yet with our freedom few of us have the courage to share GOD’s Word with others. If we hesitate to share our faith during easy times, how will we do during times of persecution? Reevaluate the way you serve GOD, and allow his powerful presence to transform the lives of people you witness to without fail.
LIFE OR DEATH Christians commit sins, of course, but they ask GOD to forgive them and they continue to serve him. GOD has freed believers from their slavery to Satan, and he keeps them safe from Satan’s attacks. The rest of the world does not have the freedom to obey GOD. Unless they come to CHRIST in faith, they have no choice but to obey Satan. There is no middle ground; people either belong to GOD and obey him, or they live under Satan’s control. What is your answer to the life or death question – To you, how is JESUS CHRIST? JESUS came to earth to die in our place for our sins, and through faith in him, we are given eternal life and the power to do his will. Some people merely hope that they will receive eternal life. Eternal life is not based on feelings, but on facts. You can know that you have eternal life if you believe GOD’s truth. If you aren’t sure that you are a Christian, ask yourself: “Have I honestly committed my life to JESUS as my Lord and Saviour?” If so, you know by faith that you are indeed a child of GOD. If not, you can know for sure that you belong to your father the Devil (John 8:44-47). Make a decision between life and death today; please don’t wait! LOVE THE SINNER Brining people to JESUS saves them from GOD’s judgment. We can do this through compassion and kindness. We are to hate the sin, but we must witness to and love the sinner. Unbelievers, no matter how successful they seem by worldly standards, are lost and in need of salvation. We should not take witnessing lightly. In trying to find
ETERNITY WITH GOD Have you ever wondered what eternity will be like? The earth as we know it will not last forever, but after GOD’s great judgment, he will create a new earth. We don’t know what the new earth will look like or where it will be, but GOD and his followers, those whose names are written in the book of life, will be united to live there together. There will be no death, pain, sorrow, or crying. What a wonderful truth! No matter what you are going through, it is not the last word, GOD has written the final chapter, and it is about true fulfillment and eternal joy for those who love him. We don not know as much as we would like, but it is enough to know that eternity with GOD will be more wonderful than we could ever imagine. If by faith you have not accepted CHRIST, confessing him as Lord, there will be no hope, no second chance, no other way to spend eternity with GOD. Will you be there?
KEEP ME AWAY Most Christians seem to pray solely for strength to endure temptations, for victory over the attacks of Satan. Somehow we don’t think to ask GOD simply to keep us away from temptation and keep the devil at bay in our lives. In Matthew 6:13 JESUS gives us a perfect example of words of deliverance: “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” When was the last time you asked GOD to keep you away from temptation? In the same way that GOD wants you to ask for anything else, he longs to hear you plead for safekeeping from evil. Without a temptation, we would not sin. Most of us face too many temptations, and therefore sin too often because we don’t ask GOD to lead us away from temptation. We will make a huge spiritual leap forward, when we begin to focus less on beating temptation and more on avoiding it. GOD offers us his supernatural power to do just that; go ahead and ask him. WATER OF LIFE As CHRIST’s return gets closer, there is a greater separation between GOD’s followers and Satan’s followers. GOD’s followers strive daily to remain faithful and ready for CHRIST’s return. On the other hand there are people whose lives have gone so wrong that they resemble Satan, who deceived the whole world. Today we see people who twist the truth to serve their own purposes. Many people have lost the ability to distinguish what’s true from what they wish was true. Dishonest people soon begin to believe the lies they construct around themselves. Then they lose the ability to tell the difference between truth and lies. By believing your own lies, you deceive yourself, you alienate yourself from GOD, and you lose credibility in all your relationships. In the long run, you self-destruct. It is not the end of world yet, there is still time, although running out fast – decide to take me up on this offer as it will expire on the day of CHRIST’s return. I extend an invitation to all of you (my friends, or not my friend yet) still living in bondage, slaves to Satan, to come to JESUS and experience the joys of salvation in CHRIST JESUS. He invites anyone to come and drink of the water of life. Salvation cannot be earned, but GOD gives it freely. To my fellow Christians – we live in a world desperately thirsty for living water, and many are dying of thirst. But it’s still not too late, let us invite everyone to come and drink from the water of life; CHRIST JESUS!
FINAL BLESSING Now to the one who is able to keep you from falling, and to cause you to stand, rejoicing, without blemish before his glorious presence, to the only GOD our Savior through JESUS CHRIST our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority, before all time, and now, and for all eternity. Amen (Jude 1:24-25)
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” - Jeremiah 29:11 -