DO YOU TRULY BELIEVE?

Scripture

“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief” – Mark 9:24

Message

How solid is your faith? Have you reduced it to outward matters of attending church, singing songs of praise, listening to nice sermons and trying to live a respectable life?

Your faith only becomes reality when the external ceremonies of Christianity become a pulsating and powerful experience in your soul. It becomes a reality when you no longer see yourself as someone defeated by sin because God’s Holy Spirit, who resides in you, enables you to triumph over all sin.

You must develop the discipline of experiencing Christ’s presence in your everyday life. Prayer, Bible study and fellowship with other believers are essential to attaining a positive, living and dynamic faith.

Prayer

Lord, You are my only shelter. When I feel powerless and afraid, You will lead me through the darkness and give me renewed courage. Amen.

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from Grace for Each Moment.

A REASON TO LIVE

“Because I live, you also will live” – John 14:19

Despite how gloomy the future seems sometimes, it is important to remember that your life and future are in the hands of God. The Christian’s fate is not ruled by blind fate; God is in control of every situation in which you find yourself. He knows your needs and is always able to provide for you.

Through His death and resurrection, Jesus not only gave you life but also a reason to live. Through His Holy Spirit, He provides you with the skills to cope with life. Choose life and live it in the abundance of Jesus Christ, giving Him the glory.

Faithful Lord, in the midst of change and corruption that occurs daily, I know that Jesus lives and that He has made it worthwhile for me to be alive too. Amen.

THE SPIRIT OF CALEB

‘My servant Caleb has a different spirit.’  – Numbers 14:24 NIV

Ever read the story of Caleb in the Bible? If he was alive today there’s a good chance he’d qualify for ‘Person of the Year’, someone who has done the most to influence circumstances for the better. Here’s his story in his own words: ‘I was forty years old when Moses…sent me…to explore the land…I brought him back a report according to my convictions, but my fellow Israelites who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt in fear. I, however, followed…God wholeheartedly…that day Moses swore to me, “The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance”…So here I am today, eighty-five years old…as strong…as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me…Then Joshua blessed Caleb… and gave him Hebron as his inheritance…because he followed the Lord…wholeheartedly’ (Joshua 14:7-14 NIV).

We can learn a lot of valuable lessons from Caleb. He had ‘a different spirit’ from those around him.
He was a positive, optimistic kind of person.
He believed that with God’s help every giant that stands in our way can be conquered, even when others say they can’t.
He had a vision that he stuck to, even when he grew older and had to face tough circumstances.
He was willing to wait and work for it even though it took 45 years to fulfil. He remained totally committed to God.
So let’s ask God to give us the spirit of Caleb.
What Now?

Spend some time reading about Caleb (take a look at Numbers 13-14 and Joshua 14). Then ask God to give you the spirit of

STAY BLESSED

SOURCE: Culled from United Christian Broadcasters.

GOD MAKES LIFE GOOD

“Listen to this, Job; stop and consider God’s wonders.” – Job 37:14

We live in troubled and uncertain times where basic values and integrity have been pushed aside. Sadly, many people have given up trying to promote a sense of morality and have chosen to just go with the flow.

If you are in this position, then, like Job, you should pause and consider God’s wonders.

Reflect on the wonderful deeds of God. Out of chaos and darkness, He created this beautiful earth. He loved us so much that He saved us from the bonds of sin and death. Through the life of Jesus, He gave us an example of the fullness of life.

Praise Him for all His wonderful deeds and for His indescribable grace.
Lord, You fill my heart with gladness. Thank You for Your glorious deeds I see all around me every day. Amen.

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from Grace from Each Moment.

JESUS WANTS TO BEAR YOUR BURDEN WITH YOU

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” – Matthew 11:28-30 RSV.

I don’t know what burden you’re carrying. I don’t know what’s weighing you down. But I do know the answer to your trouble.

Jesus says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30 RSV).

For many years I never understood that Scripture, because I didn’t know what a yoke was. When Jesus says, “Take my yoke upon you,” it sounded to me like he was going to give me something else to deal with. My burden is heavy enough already, Lord! I don’t need to take your problems on me!

Then I learned that a yoke is actually a board with two arches in it that you put over two cattle so they can pull a cart.

The value of a yoke is that it halves the load. Without a yoke, one cow’s got to pull that entire load by itself. But if you yoke up the cow with another cow, then the two animals pull the load together, and the load is half as heavy.

When Jesus says to take his yoke upon you, he’s not saying he’s going to give you his problems. Jesus doesn’t have any problems! He’s saying he’s going to share your problems. He’s going to share your load. He’s going to take your stress on himself and bear it with you.

Wow!

He uses three notable verbs in this Scripture: come, learn, and take. Jesus says, “Come to me. Team up with me. Then, learn how I do it. Take on a lighter load. This is going to reduce your stress. This is going to make it easier for you to navigate.”

When you’re yoked with Christ, you move together with him. You move in the same direction and at the same speed. And you move in the right direction and at the right speed.

Talk About It

Why is it sometimes difficult to accept help from someone who wants to share your burdens and make it easier on you?
Do you have people in your life who are willing to do that for you? How are you offering yourself to others to help reduce their stress?
Jesus already knows all about your stress. Are you ready to take on his yoke? If not, what is holding you back?

 

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from Daily Hope with Rick Warren.

The Reality of the Battle

Ephesians 6:10-13, provides for us a sober warning,
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Conflict with the enemy is unavoidable. These verses make that eminently clear. There will be a battle if you are part of God’s family. We do have a spiritual adversary.

The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 5:8-9,
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.

We do have an enemy and we are involved in a spiritual battle. But don’t you think if you knew when the devil was going to attack you, that it might give you a bit of an advantage? Well, over the next few devotionals I want to share with you three times that the devil is very likely to bring the battle to your front door.

We are going to find that as we look at the life of Jesus, this pattern was in His life. There were three times that the devil in particular brought the battle to His front door, as it were. And I believe we can expect spiritual battle at the same three times in our lives.

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from Answers for Each Day by Bayless Conley.

A NEW YEAR WITH GOD

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you” – Psalm 32:8.

The prospect of a new year can be exciting because of many new possibilities and opportunities, but also disquieting if you face the future with anxiety – wondering whether the problems and disasters of the past will repeat themselves.

International crises, financial setbacks, as well as personal problems and disappointments tend to cloud our vision of the future.

Always remember that you can place your hope in the omniscience of God. He truly cares about you and He loves you deeply. Believe in the promises of Jesus and approach the new year in His loving presence. He will guide you through the labyrinth of life because He knows what is best for you.

Prayer: You are truly a God of love! Thank You for sending Your only Son so that I, too, can be saved. Amen.

 

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from Grace for Each Moment.

TURN TO THE BIBLE

‘I will not break my agreement nor change what I have said.’
Psalm 89:34 NCV

Sometimes we can find ourselves waking up in a cloud of gloom. Nothing in our day goes right, and we can’t seem to feel positive. We don’t want to do the things we have to do, in fact we’d rather just stay under our duvets all day, or just escape the pressures of life by jetting off to another country. But geographical cures don’t work. Escaping doesn’t solve the problem; it just relocates it.

Instead, we need to be turning to a source of strength, hope, and encouragement that never fails – the Bible. God says, ‘I will not break my agreement nor change what I have said.’ What we read in the Bible is truth. It’s God’s promises to us that will never fail. It’s full of verses that we can use to help us focus on God rather than how we’re feeling.

Here are some examples: ‘When I am in distress, I call to you, because you answer me. (Psalm 86:7 NIV); ‘He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions’ (Psalm 107:20 NKJV). ‘I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living’ (Psalm 27:13 NIV); ‘I will go in the strength of the Lord God’ (Psalm 71:16 NKJV); ‘Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken’ (Psalm 55:22 NIV); ‘Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you’ (1 Peter 5:7 NIV). When we let Scriptures like these fill our minds and our hearts, we can remember our identity in Christ, that we have a God who is there for us every step of the way, and that we have better days to come.

What Now?
Choose a Bible verse from the list in the reading. Memorise it. Write it out. Design it up. Then go back to it every time you’re feeling down.

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from Word For You

NO CONDEMNATION

Romans 8:1-4

Some believers are plagued by feelings of condemnation. Either they think they’ll never live up to God’s expectations for them or they’re nearly drowning in guilt over past sins. These men and women cannot seem to shake the sense that God is displeased with their puny efforts at being Christlike.

The book of Romans confronts this lie head-on: “There is therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). When the Savior went to the cross on our behalf, He lifted the blame from our shoulders and made us righteous before God. Those feelings of condemnation do not belong to us; they are from Satan. He amplifies our guilt and feelings of inadequacy and then suggests that’s how the Lord feels about His “wayward child.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Our sins are wiped clean, and we are chosen and loved by God.

Condemnation is reserved for those who reject the Lord (John 3:36). Sin is a death sentence (Rom. 6:23). Anyone who chooses to cling to sin instead of seeking divine forgiveness must pay the penalty, which is an eternity separated from God. Two synonyms of condemn are ‘denounce’ and ‘revile.’ Those words certainly describe Jesus’ statement to unbelievers in Matthew 25:41: “Depart from me, accursed ones.”

There is no condemnation for those who receive Jesus Christ as their Savior. The believer’s penalty for sin is paid, and he can stand blameless before God. Trust in the Lord’s love and let go of Satan’s lie. God’s beloved children are covered by His grace and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

 

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from In Touch Ministries

THE CONNECTION BETWEEN PURPOSE AND PRAYER

”‘I know what I am planning for you,’ says the LORD. ‘I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you a hope and a good future. Then you will call my name. You will come to me and pray to me, and I will listen to you’” (Jeremiah 29:11-12 NCV).

Is there anything God can’t do? There are a lot of things God can’t do. He can’t deny himself. He can’t be evil. God is good, so by nature, he cannot do bad things. Everything God does is good. And so, because God is good, God’s plans for your life will always be good.

Jeremiah 29:11-12 says, “‘I know what I am planning for you,’ says the Lord. ‘I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you a hope and a good future. Then you will call my name. You will come to me and pray to me, and I will listen to you’” (NCV).
Do you see the connection between prayer and God’s plans for your life?

I’ve said this many times, but I’ll say it again: You are not an accident. There is a purpose for your life. There are accidental parents, but there are no accidental children. Your parents may not have planned you, but God did, and he wanted you alive.
Now, God didn’t have to create a plan for your life. He could have just let you be born and then wander around aimlessly.
But God has never made anything without a purpose. Everything has a purpose and a plan. God gave you a plan for your life. Why? Because he loves you. He is a good God, so he put a lot of thought into creating you.

And now you may ask, “Well, how do I know God’s plan?” God’s plans for your life are revealed and realized through prayer. The more you pray, the more you’re going to understand God’s plan for your life. When you pray to him, he listens, and he answers and reveals more of himself to you.
STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from Daily Hope with Rick Warren